Nearly 40% of over four hundred Covid-19 fatalities were of care home residents
July 13, 2020
Health and social care campaigners are demanding answers as it was revealed nearly 40 per cent of coronavirus deaths in Ealing borough have been in care homes during the pandemic.
At Ealing’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on Tuesday, 7 July, it was relayed that of 403 recorded deaths of Ealing residents so far during the crisis, 158 of them were care home residents. These figures are up to 1 July .
Director of adult social services Kerry Stevens was unable to give a breakdown of the number of people who died at each of Ealing’s 48 care homes.
He said, “The number seems considerably higher in Ealing, relative to other authorities, because we’ve got the fifth highest number of care homes in London and also the highest number of care home beds in north west London.
“So we’re not an outlier in terms of Covid-related deaths within the care home sector.”
The social care boss was also pressed on how many of the care home residents who died from coronavirus had been discharged from NHS hospitals.
But Mr Stevens said the council was still working to determine those figures.
A number of pressure groups in the borough are demanding answers over Ealing’s care home deaths to ensure lessons are learned in the event of a second wave.
Ealing Save Our NHS (ESON), Ealing Reclaim Social Care Action Group (ERSCAG) and Seniors Action Group Ealing (SAGE) wrote to council bosses on June 22 after discovering that by 15 May, 24 per cent of the borough’s deaths were in care homes – and made up 7.5 per cent of all London care home deaths.
The groups have been asking whether the problem is likely due to hospital discharge policy and testing, or infection control in care homes, among other concerns.
Campaign bosses Martin Eady, Eve Turner and Maggie Beirne said: “We have had no response to these inquiries and are chasing up.
“The Health and Wellbeing Board did seem to have decided that the reason for any discrepancy with the rate in other council areas is due entirely to the fact that we are the fifth largest provider of care homes.
“They did not indicate if they think that any of the problems lay with discharge policies/infection control in care homes, nor indeed did they share the learning from this experience when responding to a second wave.”
They added: “We have still to examine more closely all the paperwork for the HWBB meeting, but if the answers do not figure there, we will be writing again.
“Without any clarity about where the problems lay, how can we be sure that the right lessons are learnt for the future? Our intention is not to assign blame – but to understand where any failures in the division of labour between government guidance/councils/care homes/NHS remain still to be sorted out.”
Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter