Covid death figures for every English care home to be published

Care homes in England are to have their numbers of Covid deaths published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a campaign by bereaved families.

The move, which will see the figures published for the first time next month, will see every care home report how many of its residents died during the pandemic.

Campaigners have fought for the information to be made available, arguing that the "lack of transparency" has meant families have had to put relatives in a home without knowing its record on Covid deaths.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, a campaign group of over 4,000 people, led the push for the numbers to be made available.

Jean Adamson, a former care home manager who lost her father in a home last year, and a member of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: "There have been over 30,000 deaths from Covid-19 in care homes, and the sector needs to be transparent in order to maintain the trust of residents and their families.

"It is to be welcomed that the CQC has now committed to release the data on July 21, but it should never have taken this long to do so. There must be no excuses for any delay. Residents and their families have a right to know the truth."

Attempts to get the data published by the CQC were initially refused, with the Information Commissioner’s Office ruling that it did not need to be released.

The ruling noted that, because the data was requested before the vaccination programme in the UK, there was a "strong public interest" in not disclosing the information, which "would have been likely to cause residents to relocate endangering their own health but also endangering the health of others due to the risk of mixing and spreading the virus".

The Telegraph understands that the CQC has agreed to release the data on July 21 in light of the success of the vaccination programme, the easing of restrictions and the lower number of deaths in care homes.

Since 2020 there have been 29,405 deaths involving Covid in English care homes, according to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Decisions made by Matt Hancock and the Department of Health and Social Care led to thousands of people being discharged from hospitals into care homes without tests in March and April last year.

Kate Terroni, the chief inspector for adult social care at the Care Quality Commission, said: "Our thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one, and with the care workers who are working tirelessly to provide care and support during this challenging time. 

"On its own, the number of deaths at a care home does not provide an assessment of quality or safety. Our inspectors use all the data and information we receive to monitor services and where we have concerns we will inspect and make our findings public. Where people are at risk, we will take immediate action to protect them. 

"We have written to all social care providers to remind them that they have a duty to share appropriate information with families regarding outbreaks and deaths and urge them to continue to do this."

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