More than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in UK care homes may NOT be added to official figures

More than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in UK care homes may NOT be added to official figures

This week, the Office for National statistics revealed for the first time that 20 people had died in care homes across England and Wales in the week up to March 27 of the illness. It is feared government is underestimating coronavirus impact on care homes as official figures lag behind those reported in care homes.

Statistics for deaths in care homes in England and Wales were published by the ONS for the first time this week.

However, the figures are 12 days behind the daily hospital death rate and rely only on registered death certificates.

These take an average of five days to process.

This means there is a lag of 17 days between deaths and their announcement, leading to fears the death toll in care homes could be far higher than official figures show.

Hawthorn Green Residential and Nursing Home in east London

Hawthorn Green Residential and Nursing Home in east London, where seven residents have now died (Image: GOOGLE MAPS)

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The Office for National statistics revealed for the first time that 20 people had died in care homes across England and Wales (Image: GETTY)

Contrary to the 20 deaths recorded by the Office for National statistics, over 200 people have have been reported to have died in care homes by two different providers in the UK so far.

But Care England, the industry body, estimated that the true death toll is likely to be closer to 1,000.

Now, experts are warning that the difference in figures suggests that ministers may be underestimating the true impact of the pandemic on the elderly and most at risk groups.

The daily death toll reported by the government only relates to deaths in NHS England hospitals.

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It is feared government is underestimating coronavirus impact on care homes as official figures lag behind those reported in care homes (Image: GETTY)

This comes as care workers across the country are also saying they still lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing to properly deal with the virus.

The Alzheimer’s Society and other care industry leaders believe that the virus is now present in homes that care for around 400,000 people in the UK.

However, on Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said that just over nine per cent of care homes had the virus.

Trade union Unison has sent a dossier of hundreds of carers’ complaints about a lack of PPE to ministers.

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NHS

Official figures rely only on registered death certificates (Image: GETTY)

Coronavirus

Over 200 people have have been reported to have died in care homes by two different providers in the UK (Image: GETTY)

This includes one report of a carer wearing a bag over their face in the absence of a mask.

Jason Oke, a senior statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences in Oxford, told the Guardian: “The worry is that we discover in six months that the numbers are way larger because no one was counting what was happening in care home.”

Prof Martin Green, the chief executive of Care UK also claimed there has been a lack of reporting of deaths in care homes.

He said: “We are seeing underreporting of the number of deaths.

Social distancing

Social distancing (Image: EXPRESS)

“Deaths might not be in the thousands yet, but it is coming up to that level.”

The news comes after Hawthorne Green Residential and Nursing Home, in east London confirmed seven residents have died after contracting COVID-19 this week.

All of the patients who died also had multiple, chronic, underlying health conditions.

A total of 21 other residents are also showing at least one symptom of COVID-19.

NHS

Care England estimated that the true death toll is likely to be closer to 1,000 (Image: GETTY)

This is almost half of the residents currently staying in the home.

A further 12 workers at the care home are now self-isolating.

Seven of the workers either have symptoms themselves or their family members showing symptoms.

Each worker has been supplied with PPE (personal protective equipment) to ensure the safety of the other residents and staff, a spokesman for Hawthorn Green said.

Published at Fri, 10 Apr 2020 04:40:00 +0000