THE LATEST figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which include every community death linked to Covid-19 in England and Wales, showed a total of 406 such deaths registered up to 3rd April had occurred outside of hospitals.
That would have added an extra 11% to the official UK figures, based solely on deaths in hospitals being reported at that time.
Of those extra deaths, 217 took place in care homes, 33 in hospices, 136 in private homes, three in other communal establishments and 17 elsewhere.
Age UK, Marie Curie, Care England, Independent Age and the Alzheimer’s Society have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock demanding a care package to support social care through the pandemic.
They have also called for a daily update on deaths in the care system.
It comes after the government confirmed there had been coronavirus outbreaks at more than 2,000 care homes in England – although they did not specify the number of deaths that had occurred.
The figures prompted the charity Age UK to claim coronavirus is ‘running wild’ in care homes for elderly people.
‘The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don’t matter,’ Caroline Abrahams, the charity’s director, said.
‘About 410,000 people live in care homes in the UK, living in 11,300 care homes for older people supplied by 5,500 different providers.
England’s care home regulator, the Care Quality Commission, has said it will begin recording deaths in adult social care from this week.
Conservative peer and former work and pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann has expressed her concern about what is happening in the care sector.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that ‘one or two’ people in care homes had told her they felt as though older people are being treated ‘like lambs to the slaughter’.
‘They (care homes) are left without protective equipment, they are left without testing,’ she said.
‘They haven’t got the staff that they need because staff are either falling ill or there were already staff shortages.’
She added that ‘the mark of a civilised society’ was ‘how it treats it most vulnerable and oldest citizens.’
- There were 16,387 deaths in the week ending 3rd April – the highest since the ONS started publishing weekly data in 2005. This is 6,000 more deaths than expected at this time of year.
Coronavirus cases contributed to the jump with 3,475 death certificates linked to the virus.
ONS official Nick Stripe said it is clear the coronavirus pandemic had upped the trend, saying the rising number of deaths is ‘hugely significant’ given it happened at the start of April.
‘This is not normal,’ he added.
- Britain’s independent tax and spending watchdog has warned the coronavirus pandemic could trigger a record 35% drop in UK growth by June.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said that this was based on an assumption that the current lockdown would last for three months.
Under this scenario, unemployment would hit 10%, from its current 3.9% rate.
The OBR outlined the potential hit to the economy and public finances in a special report yesterday.
It said a three-month lockdown followed by three months of partial restrictions would push up Britain’s borrowing bill to an estimated £273bn this financial year, or 14% of gross domestic product (GDP).
This would represent the largest deficit as a share of GDP since World War II.
The UK economy is expected to contract by 13% for the year as a whole.