After the County Council resisted Labour’s calls for an independent enquiry into care homes Covid outbreaks and deaths last summer, your Labour County Councillors have been busy continuing to hold the Conservative administration of Cambridgeshire County Council to account over the situation in our care homes.
National requirements still state that care homes patients who are hospitalised with Covid will, once they are fit for discharge, be discharged to an isolation centre that will be CQC registered for 14 days prior to returning to their usual care home place of residence. We identified mass discharge into care homes of patients that were not fit for discharge as a major cause for the large number of excess deaths that we saw in care homes last year, and we continue to monitor the situation to ensure that this does not happen again.
Cambridgeshire County Council has now offered the first dose of the Covid vaccination to all our care homes. Prioritisation is being given to over 80-year-olds, care home staff and health staff. National targets require 20% of the vaccine allocation to be administered to care home staff.
While we are pleased that the vaccination rollout is proceeding at speed, Elisa Meschini, Leader of the Labour Group on Cambridgeshire County Council, remains concerned at the lack of data that is available in the public domain regarding care homes. “At some point during the second and third waves of the pandemic, at least half of Cambridgeshire care homes have been affected by an outbreak”, she said. “The national vaccine dashboard does not offer a breakdown of data by local authority or by setting, and we are therefore unable to be reassured that everyone in our care homes, which includes staff, have been vaccinated.”
“In our earlier calls for an inquiry, we pointed to the large amounts of excess deaths that were happening in our care homes. These are deaths which are not directly related to Covid, but which show that more care home residents are dying during the pandemic than would die over the same period of time in previous years”, she continues. “If staff and younger residents in care homes are not protected, everyone loses and more people die. If we don’t take care of our most vulnerable, how can we take care of everyone else?”.