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Amnesty reports on Covid discharges to Care Homes

October 5, 2020 6:00 PM
Originally published by East Suffolk Liberal Democrats

'Older people in care homes abandoned to die amid government failures during pandemic', says Amnesty Report


Help for health and care staff

A series of "shockingly irresponsible" Government decisions put tens of thousands of older people's lives at risk and led to multiple violations of care home residents' human rights, said Amnesty International yesterday, following an investigation by the human rights group's Crisis Response team.

  • Key failings included decisions to discharge thousands of untested hospital patients into care homes and imposition of blanket DNARs
  • Care home managers and staff say they were left without guidance, PPE or access to testing
  • Amnesty calls for a full independent public inquiry to commence immediately, and for the revision of current restrictive visiting guidelines

'Amnesty's 50-page report - As If Expendable: The UK Government's Failure to Protect Older People in Care Homes during the COVID-19 Pandemic - shows that care home residents were effectively abandoned in the early stages of the pandemic.

'Between 2 March and 12 June this year 28,186 "excess deaths" were recorded in care homes in England, with over 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with COVID-19 during this period'.

'Care home managers and staff described to Amnesty "a complete breakdown" of systems in the first six weeks of the pandemic response. They spoke of waiting to receive guidance, struggling to access (adequate amounts of) PPE, and of having no access to testing, despite having to manage infected patients urgently discharged from hospitals'.
Amnesty said:
'On 17 March, four days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the Government ordered the discharge of 25,000 patients from hospitals into care homes, including those infected or possibly infected with COVID-19'.
'On 2 April, the same day that the WHO confirmed the existence of pre-symptomatic cases of COVID-19, the Government reiterated its guidance for hospital discharge that 'Negative tests are not required prior to transfers / admissions into the care home'.

According to reports published by the EADT, 'In mid-March the head of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, urged all hospitals to discharge patients who were "medically fit to leave". This was done from March 17 to free up space for an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases

Hundreds of untested Suffolk patients discharged to Care Homes

In Suffolk East Anglian Daily Times reported in July that they had obtained figures showing that hundreds of patients were sent to care homes without coronavirus tests. EADT reported that 'according to figures obtained by this newspaper patients were sent to care homes, untested for coronavirus, from Ipswich Hospital and the community hospitals of Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Bluebird Lodge more than 300 times between March and mid-April,

This has resulted in calls for an inquiry into why Suffolk consistently recorded a higher number of care home deaths than its neighbours, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire with a third of the county's 549 coronavirus deaths in care homes'.

HFS

END

Sources:

Amnesty international

4 October 2020, 10:24 UTC UK: Older people in care homes abandoned to die amid government failures during COVID-19 pandemic

EADT - 14 July 2020

Calls for inquiry after hundreds of patients sent to care homes without coronavirus tests

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