Significant rise in figures for care home deaths as a result of COVID-19

We have recently written several blogs regarding various COVID-19 related problems the care sector is facing.  In particular the supply of PPE and the effect of COVID-19 generally on staffing levels and management of service users are critical issues.

New figures suggest that the previous official figures regarding deaths in care homes due to COVID-19 show a steep increase.  The Office of National Statistics reported for the week ending 10 April, 975 deaths in care homes.  The Care Quality Commission has recently started collecting data on deaths in care homes due to COVID-19 and puts the figures for the period 11 to 15 April at as high as 2,000 for that period.

But the number of deaths from COVID-19 could be far higher.  There have been various media reports regarding number of deaths that have been collated from large care home operators and care association.  For example Care England reported  the death toll could be as high as 7,500 across the care sector and a National Care Forum survey suggested there had been up to 4,000 deaths of care sector service users by 13 April.

Official figures on care home deaths from COVID-19 only began to be collected on 9 April, so it may take some time for the official figures to show the true picture.  In addition, deaths from COVID-19 may not be recorded properly if a service user was not tested for the virus or had other underlying serious health conditions that were thought to be the cause of death.

Whatever the actual death toll is, it is clear to see that COVID-19 is having a huge impact on the care sector. What this may mean in terms of claims going forward is premature to comment upon.


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Jennifer Johnston, Associate, BLM
jennifer.johnston@blmlaw.com

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