Care homes see rise in deaths not linked to coronavirus as hospitals refuse to take ill residents

The revelation comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) prepares to shed new light on the deaths in care homes on Tuesday by incorporating more information about care home deaths, collected by the CQC, into its data.

The findings from HC One suggest the total number of “additional” deaths in care homes over the coronavirus pandemic could ultimately stretch into the tens of thousands.

Around 2,100 people in UK care homes died per week in April – equivalent to 400 per day – according to ONS figures showing the average number of deaths by location from 2015 to 2019.

If HC One’s experience with non-Covid 19 deaths is typical of the UK’s, more than 4,200 care home residents may have died of unrelated illnesses in the two weeks to April 24 alone.

Eleven days ago, Care England, the country’s largest representative body for care homes, estimated that the number of care home residents who had died of suspected coronavirus may have reached 7,500. 

Sir David said care home residents without coronavirus who might ordinarily have died in hospital were dying in care homes instead.

Professor Martin Green, Care England’s chief executive, said they might have survived “if we had a normally functioning system”.

He added: “What do you do if somebody has a chest infection? Normally those people might have been sent to hospital, they might then have had some kind of intravenous antibiotics and then returned to the care home.”

The Department for Health has been approached for comment.

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