Call for inquiry into care home deaths in Hertfordshire during the COVID pandemic

COVID 19 and Carer with facemask

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Hertfordshire has one of the highest care homes death tolls from Coronavirus. A report in the Health Service Journal on 2nd May highlighted that the Hertfordshire and West Essex area had the highest excess deaths in care homes from all causes in the week ending 17 April. This was confirmed by ONS data which put Hertfordshire second behind Hampshire for death toll in care homes from COVID-19.

The latest ONS data shows there were 251 deaths listing COVID 19 registered in Hertfordshire between 10th April and 22nd May in addition to over 600 deaths in hospital. From various data sources, Herts Liberal Democrats have calculated that as many as 500 care home residents have died from COVID-19.

Adult Care Health Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, County Cllr Ron Tindall says "We are concerned that the policy choices by Government may well have contributed to deaths, through the discharge of COVID positive patients to care home settings which could not cope with essential infection control. County council staff have also confirmed that due to lack of testing they cannot be certain that asymptomatic patients were not admitted to care homes without proper isolation measures.

"Hertfordshire Council officers have confirmed that the NHS discharged COVID positive patients to care home settings where 'isolation' is possible, but evidence that care homes were unable to adequately isolate discharged residents is building, suggesting that such discharges may have led to care home outbreaks and unnecessary and preventable deaths.

"My colleagues and I are concerned, as are people across the country, that the government acted too late and without taking on board the concerns of those in the care sector. This whole process needs a review and investigation once the COVID 19 crisis is under control. Lessons must be learned."

I, the undersigned, support the call for a full inquiry into what has led to the high number of deaths in the care sector in Hertfordshire as soon as is practicable.


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