The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published new data yesterday, outlining death notifications involving COVID-19 received from individual care homes between 10th April 2020 and 31st March 2021.
More than 39,000 care home deaths were recorded over the period. The highest number of care home deaths over the period were registered in the south-east region of England (7,404), followed by the north-west (5,748) and the east of England (4,943). The fewest deaths were recorded in London (2,635).
The maximum number of care home deaths recorded at one individual care home was 44.
Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of NCF, said the publication of this data is ‘a reminder of the terrible toll that has been felt by those who live in care homes’ and that the information published should be ‘handled with sensitivity and the greatest respect.’
With regards to what the information indicates, Vic Rayner OBE, said, ‘Throughout the pandemic we have supported our members to be open and transparent. It is important that CQC recognises that the information published is not an indication of the quality or safety in individual care homes and that many of the notifications relate to deaths of care home residents which occurred in other settings.’
The regulating body, CQC, has said that ‘it has a duty to be transparent’ and ‘to act in the public interest.’ It is hoped that by publishing this highly sensitive data that a greater, and more comprehensive, picture of the impact of COVID-19 in care homes will be gained.
Kate Terroni, CQC’s Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care, said, ‘In considering this data it is important to remember that every number represents a life lost - and families, friends and those who cared for them who are having to face the sadness and consequences of their death.’
Yet, despite the need for transparency, something that the Care Workers’ Charity agrees must happen, there is some concern that the publication of this data may come as ‘a bit of a blow’ for the care workforce.
Karolina Gerlich, CEO of The Care Workers’ Charity, said, ‘The Care Workers’ Charity would like to express our deepest sympathies for the families and loved ones affected, who have been forever changed by their loss. We understand and respect the need for transparency and believe the health and social care sectors must remain accountable.
‘Although the accompanying statement by the CQC acknowledges the workforce, and states that the number of deaths does not reflect care quality, it does not go far enough to mitigate the impact that this publication will undoubtedly have on a sector which has long been undervalued and misunderstood.’
The Care Workers’ Charity encourages the CQC to publish a report of outstanding practice during the pandemic – demonstrating where care workers and providers have gone above and beyond. The Care Workers’ Charity believe this will help reduce any imbalance of reporting. The charity has called on the Government again to address the need for reform as soon as possible.
NCF urges the Government to be ambitious for social care reform and work together with people who receive care and support, their families and the wider care sector to develop a long-term strategy that recognises the vital role of social care in supporting and delivering essential services for millions of people every day.
The publication of this data will prompt a time of reflection and remembrance. Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of NCF, added, ‘We join with our members in expressing our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of all those who have passed, in what has been an unprecedented time. Through open and transparent conversations our members will continue to support and provide high quality care to the people who need it most.’
For more data insights, visit the CQC website and view the data dashboard on care home deaths.