Government must now avoid political distraction and protect social care as a priority Health Foundation response to ONS weekly deaths in England and Wales

26 May 2020

Commenting on today’s release of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data: Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales for the week ending the 15 May 2020, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:

'Today's figures illustrate the huge loss of life in care homes and the need for sustained government action to avoid a further spike in avoidable deaths.

'There have been 11,650 COVID-19 related deaths in care homes in England and Wales so far. While the number of weekly deaths in care homes appears to be falling, excess deaths are still significantly above the 5 year average – and national figures mask differences in deaths between regions and population groups. New analysis from the Health Foundation, published today, shows that care homes in London and the North have been worse hit by COVID-19 than other regions in England. And social care staff – mostly women – are around twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as other adults.

'Government action on social care during the pandemic so far has been slow – the 'action plan' for social care was published nearly a month after the lockdown was introduced. Protecting vulnerable people needing social care should be given more obvious priority. Targeted action to tackle local outbreaks in care homes must include effective testing and tracing, and ensuring consistent supplies of PPE to prevent a further spike in avoidable deaths.'

Media contact

Simon Perry
Simon.Perry@health.org.uk
020 7257 2093

Further reading

Press release

Care homes in London and the North worse hit by COVID-19 than other areas of England

26 May 2020

New Health Foundation analysis shows extent of regional variations in care home deaths.

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