UNISON: New data shows claims of protecting care homes “ring hollow”

UNISON has said that claims by the government to have protected care homes throughout the coronavirus pandemic “ring rather hollow” as the latest figures show that hundreds are still dying in care homes.

Responding to information released by the Office for National Statistics today, assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said that it is “shameful that hundreds of people in care homes are still dying of Covid-19 every week”.

The trade union has argued that the government left care homes to “fight the disease alone” during the crisis, and called for an overhaul of the sector after the pandemic.

Commenting on the data, McAnea said: “It’s shameful that hundreds of people in care homes are still dying of Covid-19 every week. Vulnerable residents and care workers looking after them have been left to fight the disease alone.

“Many staff still don’t have the safety kit or tests they need. Government claims of a protective ring being placed around care homes ring rather hollow.”

The numbers published by the ONS today revealed that, in the last week for which we have data, 43.6% of all deaths resulting from coronavirus happened in care homes.

“The care sector needs to be completely overhauled once the crisis has passed. Never again should the concerns of staff, unions and employers be ignored.”

The ONS numbers published today report that there had been a total of 42,173 coronavirus deaths in England and Wales by May 15th – the organisation has a ten-day delay in producing its Covid-19 figures.

This number released by the UK’s independent statistics authority is significantly higher than that accounted for by Public Health England, which said that there had been 33,998 coronavirus deaths by the same time.

UNISON has repeatedly called for urgent action to support care home staff and residents throughout this crisis. Earlier this month, the trade union launched a petition calling for the adequate provision of personal protective equipment.

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