Government urged to record care home coronavirus deaths after fatalities revealed to be 'about 1,000'

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

The government is being urged to record all coronavirus-related care home deaths, after it was revealed there had been "about 1,000" resident fatalities.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer demanded care home deaths be included in daily statistical updates after the Work and Pensions Secretary said around 1,000 care home residents had died in the UK after outbreaks of coronavirus.

Asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain about the deaths of care home residents, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: "My understanding is it is about 1,000, but more information will be published today."

The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which showed significant disparity in the government's death toll compared with that of the ONS.

During the government's coronavirus press conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said there's "absolutely no desire" to omit care home deaths from daily figures.

He said there was a "logistical challenge" in gathering such data quickly.

After it was revealed on Monday that 2,099 care homes had been hit by outbreaks of coronavirus, the ONS said of the 406 Covid-19-related deaths which occurred outside hospitals in the week up to April 3, 217 took place in care homes.

Labour leader Sir Keir, said on Twitter the government "should" include these figures in its daily reporting because "care homes are on the front line of this crisis".

Director of health protection for Public Health England, Professor Yvonne Doyle said: "I would very much like to have the best possible data on a daily basis."

She added: We have a number of outbreaks in care homes and there is very active input there to ensure that the damage and the harm to people is mitigated, so we work very actively with the care home sector, but it is a very dispersed sector.”

The ONS have released figures on the Covid-19 deaths outside of hospital. Credit: ITV News Graphics

ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand, who has been investigating the impact of coronavirus on care homes, said between two care home providers he had spoken to, there had been 521 resident deaths.

Care provider HC One reported 311 deaths and MHA reported 210.

Paul Brand visited Eighton Lodge care home in Gateshead where care workers told him they have "cried a lot" recently.

Jean Hutchinson, who's 90-years-old, died in the hospital with Covid-19 - her death will be included in the government's daily statistics.

Meanwhile 81-year-old Eddie Hall died in the care home so his death has not been included in the government's statistics.

Jean Hutchinson and Eddie Hall have both died after contracting Covid-19. Credit: ITV News/Handout

Alison Bolden, a care worker at Gateshead told ITV News: "When I think about them, they're just good memories, otherwise I just cry a lot.

"I've cried quite a lot over the last two weeks."

When Paul Brand asked the care home manager, Laura Simpson, what is upsetting her she said: "Because we have a duty of care to the residents and I just feel like the virus is just wiping people out and it's really, really hard to watch."

She added that she doesn't feel like she is getting help from the government.

One care home manager Anita Astle told ITV News her staff members are "broken".

There have been nine coronavirus-related deaths at her care home in Nottinghamshire so far, and with "each death it's getting harder to do what we’re doing".

Of her staff, Ms Astle said: "They’re broken, they’re raw, it’s unprecedented times and its really hard.

"We're seeing people die prematurely and that’s really hard to watch."

Care homes have become an area of growing concern after 13 residents at one facility died following an outbreak.

Downing Street rejected suggestions that care home residents and staff were being treated as “second class citizens” during the outbreak.

“I don’t accept that at all," the prime minister's spokesperson said, "we are working around the clock to ensure that every vulnerable person - young or old - gets the support they need during this crisis."

Ms Coffey also said care homes are being provided with the right equipment to properly care for residents.

She said: "Care home providers are able to access PPE equipment from wholesalers and others who are not discriminating between social care or local NHS care.

“But we will continue to make sure they are part of aspects of the delivery network.”

The prime minister's spokesperson added: "We have delivered 7.8 million pieces of PPE to over 26,000 care settings, no wholesaler is prioritising the NHS over the care sector."

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds told ITV News it would be helpful if the government started publishing the number of people who have passed away in care homes from coronavirus.

"We think it would be very useful for the sector when workers are doing their very best to care for very unwell people, in very difficult circumstances," Ms Dodds said.

The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed of all deaths which occurred in England and Wales up to April 3 (registered up to April 11), 6,235 involved Covid-19.

That compares with 4,093 deaths reported by the government for the same period.

ONS figures take into account all deaths, compared to government figures, which only reveal the number of coronavirus-related deaths which occur in hospitals.

ONS figures also include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected cases, as well as deaths in the community.

The NHS figures only include deaths in hospitals where a patient has been tested for Covid-19.

The government's most recent figures, as of Tuesday, April 14, show 12,107 have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.