Deaths involving COVID-19 in social care staff

May 11, 2020

Evidence released today by the Office for National Statistics shows that social care staff have significantly raised rates of death involving COVID-19 compared to those of the same age and sex in the general working-age population.

Amongst the total deaths from COVID-19 in working age adults, there are 9.9 deaths per 100,000 men, compared with 5.2 deaths per 100,000 females (882 deaths). For social care staff, these figures are 23.4 deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 men (45 deaths) and 9.6 deaths per 100,000 females (86 deaths). Healthcare workers were not found to have raised rates of death from COVID-19.

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive at the Social Care Institute for Excellence has responded by saying that these figures must go down. She says, 'These are shocking figures. When the lockdown started and cases of COVID-19 increased, people were quite rightly worried for those working in the NHS. It appears that, in the first month or so of the pandemic, social care workers, despite putting their lives at risk and continuing to make a difference to people’s lives daily, were unfortunately a forgotten front line. What was needed then and what’s needed now is consistent and continuous testing; and the provision of protective equipment with training on how to wear it.

'There is a some hope though. These figures are up until 20th April and we at SCIE hope that the increased awareness of social care amongst policy-makers and the population at large will see care providers having easier access to protective equipment; and for testing to be ongoing and continuous in care settings. The care and support workforce have acted like heroes but they also deserve to see these rapidly figures decline as quickly as possible.'

Dr Layla McCay, Director at the NHS Confederation, said, 'There is a tragedy unfolding...and these figures which show men particularly and women working in social care have significantly raised rates of death involving COVID-19 are extremely concerning.

'Radical reform is needed...That means doing our utmost locally and nationally to support this vital provider of care, with the proper PPE, training and support in infection control, as well as adequate funding.'

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