Social care COVID-19 death rates a ‘national scandal’

Unison has branded new figures which show that men working in social care are at more than double the risk of dying from coronavirus than other professions as a ‘national scandal’.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that men and women working in social care both face ‘significantly raised rates of death involving COVID-19’.

According to the ONS, there have been 50.1 deaths per 100,000 men in social care, compared to 19.1 deaths per 100,000 men across the whole working population.

The ONS also found there have been 19.1 deaths per 100,000 women, working in social care.

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs had one of the highest death rates for a profession, with 65.3 deaths per 100,000, while chefs had 56.8 deaths per 100,000.

‘Today’s analysis shows that jobs involving close proximity with others, and those where there is regular exposure to disease, have some of the highest rates of death from COVID-19,’ said the ONS’s head of health analysis and life events, Ben Humberstone.

‘However, our findings do not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving COVID-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure.’

But the assistant general secretary of Unison, Christina McAnea said the figures were a ‘tragic national scandal’.

‘The government has failed to protect social care during this pandemic and even now, these issues are far from being resolved,’ added Ms McAnea.

‘Care workers have financial pressures to work when they should be shielding or self-isolating. Protective kit is being used for longer than is safe and testing is still not happening.’

The chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, said the figures are ‘another tragic reminder about the essential need for our vital social care workforce to be fully protected’.

‘People working in social care, including care workers, are on the frontline against this deadly disease and continue to put themselves at risk in order to care for those who need their help and support,’ said Cllr Hudspeth.

‘All those working in social care have to receive everything they need, including reliable and consistent supplies of quality PPE, to protect them and the people they care for from this terrible pandemic.’

Photo Credit – Geralt (Pixabay)

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