UK hidden coronavirus deaths: Hundreds of elderly dying in care homes than government claims
London, April 14, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Care homes in UK have become death centres after records show that more than 300 residents have died of suspected coronavirus at one of the UK’s largest care home companies, one of its bosses said on Tuesday.
Sir David Behan, executive chairman of HC One, says 232 – or around two thirds – of the firm’s homes have Covid-19 outbreaks, with 2,447 confirmed or suspected cases.
It comes as coronavirus deaths in care homes surged tenfold in a week, with an ex-minister warning vulnerable residents have been “abandoned like lambs to the slaughter”.
Some 311 residents and one member of staff are thought to have died from the disease at HC One homes leaving staff feeling “helpless”, Sir David said.
Yesterday, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said 13 per cent of care homes across Britain had been struck by the deadly virus so far.
But Sir David, former chief executive of medical watchdog the Care Quality Commission, believes the grim figures at HC One are “a more realistic picture” of what is going on in care homes nationally.
Care home deaths aren’t included in the government’s daily number of fatalities, with fears the number of those killed is much higher.
TWO THIRDS OF HOMES HIT
Sir David told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve been monitoring these numbers since the beginning of the outbreak and as of yesterday evening at 8 o’clock we’d had 2,447 of either suspected or confirmed Covid-19 within our care homes.
“It’s present in 232 of our homes which is about two-thirds of the total number of homes that we run.
“And again, as of last night, there have been 311 residents who have died as a result of, or suspected, Covid-19. And indeed sadly over the weekend we’ve lost one member of staff.
“Covid-19 deaths are representative of about… just under about a third of all deaths that we’ve had over the past three weeks.
“So this isn’t just an issue of deaths from Covid-19 as I’ve already said, this is a very frail group of older people and we’d normally have a number of deaths taking place throughout the winter months and we’re also dealing with that as well.”
Yesterday, Britain was warned deaths “will increase further” this week after 717 more people lost their lives to the bug.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is now releasing the numbers of deaths in care homes.
But they are based on death certificates which take time to issue and cause a lag in numbers of deaths confirmed.
Industry chiefs believe the true figure of deaths in care homes is feared to be around 1,000.
ONS figures published today showed 217 deaths in care homes in England and Wales, a tenfold increase from the previous week’s number of 20.
These include cases where coronavirus is suspected or confirmed and covers the period up to April 3.
Just under 10 per cent of the Covid-19 deaths registered up to April 3 took place in care homes, hospices or private homes.
The total number of coronavirus deaths in England could be 15 per cent higher once deaths in the community are factored in.
In London nearly half of all deaths registered in the week ending April 3 involved Covid-19.
The 16,387 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending April 3 is the highest number since ONS records began in 2005.
ONS figures don’t include Northern Ireland and Scotland so the true number for the UK will be higher.