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Statement on care home numbers being released

Wiltshire Council has joined with the Wiltshire Care Partnership to respond to the publication of figures today (21 July) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into care home deaths related to COVID.

Published 21 July 2021
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Wiltshire Council has joined with the Wiltshire Care Partnership to respond to the publication of figures today (21 July) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into care home deaths related to COVID.

The figures have been released dating from 10 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 and cover those who sadly died while in the care home setting, but also those who were in hospital or at another setting, for example a Designated Setting.

Wiltshire Council has worked closely with care home providers throughout the pandemic.

Since mid-April, the council has worked in partnership with the CCG, Wiltshire Care Partnership (WCP), Public Health England and CQC to review risks and support needed by all local care homes. The council provided funding for infection control and a Care Home Advisory Group was established across health, social care and WCP.

A COVID-19 provider team was set up with a dedicated helpline and email address, and was operating six days per week supporting care providers. The team kept in regular contact with providers, organising the delivery of PPE where needed, providing easy to read guidance, organising regular webinars to share good practice, and problem solving, as well as a one-stop shop for advice and guidance on infection prevention and control. The data does not in any way suggest that care homes or their staff acted inappropriately or failed to follow the guidance. Rather, an unknown and deadly virus has spread throughout communities, including care homes, and the most vulnerable have been the largest group impacted.

Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health for Wiltshire, said: "We know there will be interest in this information today, but we must not lose sight of the fact each figure represents a loss of a loved one for a family and friends, and our thoughts are with these people who are having to live with that loss every day.

"Care providers in Wiltshire have worked hard to maintain dignity and respect for residents and to cope with immense pressure, and I would like to recognise their hard work and dedication. We will continue to work closely with and support our care providers as they maintain their dedication to their residents during these challenging times."

Cllr Jane Davies, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: "Our thoughts are with those families who have lost loved ones. We have worked together with care providers and our health colleagues providing support and advice.  We are regularly sharing good practice and guidance so we can ensure our residents have the very best support."

Jo Howes, CEO of Wiltshire Care Partnership said: "The numbers of deaths in care homes overall have been widely reported, but publishing numbers per home fails to recognise the whole story, which includes the national decision to discharge people from hospital to care homes without testing early on, the initial lack of PPE and the difficulty of responding to new strains of the virus before the science has really had a chance to understand how it spreads. It also fails to recognise the loss felt by care staff at the passing of those in their care, through no fault of their own, or the hard work the care sector has contributed to fighting this virus during the pandemic."

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Published 21 July 2021