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Britain's hidden coronavirus victims: New figures reveal up to 600 elderly patients could have died in care homes – but bosses warn true figure is even HIGHER and reveals 'two-thirds' of homes have outbreaks

Britain's hidden coronavirus victims: New figures reveal up to 600 elderly patients could have died in care homes – but bosses warn true figure is even HIGHER and reveals 'two-thirds' of homes have outbreaks
  • Data collected by the Office for National Statistics showed there were 217 deaths in care homes up to April 3
  • HC-One boss said 311 residents died of suspected COVID-19 with 2,400 potential cases in 232 of 330 homes
  • Crisis unfolding in care homes laid bare as whistle-blowers accuse doctors of 'airbrushing' death certificates
  • Figures could be 15 per cent more on top of the official death toll announced each day by the Government
The deepening crisis unfolding in Britain's care homes has been laid bare today as new figures suggest up to 600 elderly residents could have died of coronavirus - with experts warning the figure could be even higher. 
Britain's official coronavirus death toll is missing 10 per cent of deaths which occurred outside of hospitals, including in care homes and hospices, statistics have revealed.
Data collected by the Office for National Statistics showed there were around 4,100 COVID-19-related deaths registered by April 3 in England and Wales.
Just 5.3 per cent of those fatalities (217) were recorded as having happened in care homes, but experts and industry insiders say the true figure is likely to be much bigger.
Hospital deaths accounted for 90.2 per cent of all officially recorded COVID-19 deaths (3,716) up to that point but a lack of testing anywhere else in the community suggests there are deaths going untracked in care homes, people's own houses and hospices.
Existing figures already suggest that the gap could be 15 per cent more on top of the official death toll announced each day by the Government. Coronavirus deaths registered up to April 11 totalled 5,186 in hospitals but 5,979 by death certificate counts. 
The official Department of Health death toll stands at 11,329 - meaning almost 600 deaths could have been recorded in care homes, if the same percentage applied to the overall count. 
Number 10 is now under mounting pressure to start recording all coronavirus deaths, wherever they happen, amid accusations doctors are sweeping the true death toll under the carpet. 
A whistle-blower last night accused some doctors of 'airbrushing' coronavirus off the death certificates of Britain's most vulnerable.
The UK's care home regulator, the Care Quality Commission, today said it was stepping in to collect daily numbers of coronavirus deaths. Currently the only data on care home deaths is released on a weekly basis - and is two weeks behind the date on which it comes out.
It comes after the boss of Britain's largest care home operator today suggested two thirds of all homes across Britain have recorded coronavirus cases. 
Debbie Cholwill said her mother, who had dementia and was living  in a care home, passed away on April 10 after testing positive for coronavirus
Debbie Cholwill said her mother, who had dementia and was living  in a care home, passed away on April 10 after testing positive for coronavirus
Cyril Lawrence, 99, was a teenager when football last ground to a halt back in 1939. He is now in hospital after falling ill at a care home
Cyril Lawrence, 99, was a teenager when football last ground to a halt back in 1939. He is now in hospital after falling ill at a care home
Carole Foster, 77, passed away last Wednesday at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, just one day after being admitted
Carole Foster, 77, passed away last Wednesday at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, just one day after being admitted
NICE recommends clinicians use the Clinical Frailty Scale when considering patients for intensive care
NICE recommends NHS clinicians use the controversial Clinical Frailty Scale when considering patients for intensive care. It ranks patients' frailty from one to nine and is designed to prioritise those most likely to recover from the killer virus.
The most vulnerable coronavirus patients could be denied critical care under a new NHS scoring system designed to free up ICU beds for those most likely to recover. Sources say the draft guidance was scrapped and will not be implemented
The most vulnerable coronavirus patients could be denied critical care under a new NHS scoring system designed to free up ICU beds for those most likely to recover. Sources say the draft guidance was scrapped and will not be implemented
Sir David's comments come after the coronavirus crisis unfolding in Britain's care homes was dramatically laid bare last night:
  • A study suggested up to half of the UK's COVID-19 deaths could take place in care homes, even though they are not included in official figures;
  • Care homes have recorded more than 500 deaths among their residents but official figures show fewer than 300 - experts and insiders say it could be considerably higher than is known;
  • A furious care home boss said 'you'd be hard-pressed' to find a care home provider that wasn't angry about being told to re-admit COVID-19 patients;
  • Labour's Shadow Minister for Social Care, Liz Kendall, said the care home situation is 'extremely worrying' and that a daily death toll is 'urgently needed';
  • A lack of testing outside of hospitals means care home residents are being missed from coronavirus statistics - providers are being urged to record suspected cases;
  • England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty revealed that nearly 100 more homes had reported outbreaks in the past 24 hours. He said more than 13 per cent had now been hit nationally by the deadly disease, the equivalent of a staggering 2,200 homes;
  • A whistle-blower accused some doctors of 'airbrushing' coronavirus off the death certificates of society's most vulnerable;
  • And an ex-cabinet minister claimed care home residents were being abandoned like 'lambs to the slaughter' during the crisis;
  • The threat from coronavirus in care homes is now so grave that terrified staff are refusing to work.
Stricken family members who have lost loved ones to coronavirus in care homes have laid bare the devastating reality of the deepening crisis. 
Families across the UK have contacted MailOnline to share the stories of mothers, fathers, grandparents and friends who have passed away after contracting Covid-19 in a care home. 
Others are stuck in isolation in their accommodation, unable to see family members as their fellow residents battle the disease.  
Donna Millan told MailOnline that her 73-year-old mother died on April 9 with COVID-19 symptoms. 
Ms Millan said: '[Mum] had been mostly unresponsive for almost a week. She was not given IV for fluids and was kept in the care home as they considered moving her too distressing. 
'Some of the residents were swabbed after showing symptoms on the Monday and Tuesday last week, and four residents and a carer were confirmed positive. 
'My mum wasn't swabbed despite requests, we were told Public Health wouldn't swab there again as there were already confirmed cases. There were, and are, lots of suspected cases there and all residents are being kept in isolation.
'My mum had dementia but was otherwise healthy. We heard rumours about testing and were only told of the swabbing then confirmed cases when I asked. 
'The nursing staff did as they could and said Public Health were discouraging elderly people in care from from being taken to hospital. 
'We believe that my mum would not have contracted COVID-19 and would still be alive had things been managed better.' 
Chris Schmid told MailOnline his great aunt Isabel Francis, 94, (pictured) passed away in Fieldway care home in Mitcham, South London on Friday, April 10
Chris Schmid told MailOnline his great aunt Isabel Francis, 94, (pictured) passed away in Fieldway care home in Mitcham, South London on Friday, April 10
George Hillhouse's 74-year-old mother, Helen Smith, died at Almond Court care home in Drumchapel on Saturday
George Hillhouse's 74-year-old mother, Helen Smith, died at Almond Court care home in Drumchapel on SaturdayAvice Howarth's mother, who was living in a care home. passed away on April 10
Avice Howarth's mother, who was living in a care home. passed away on April 10
Data collected by the Office for National Statistics showed there were around 4,100 deaths registered by the week ending April 3 in England and Wales. Slightly less than 10 per cent of the deaths occurred in hospices, care homes and private homes, according to the analysis
Data collected by the Office for National Statistics showed there were around 4,100 deaths registered by the week ending April 3 in England and Wales. Slightly less than 10 per cent of the deaths occurred in hospices, care homes and private homes, according to the analysis
ONS data shows the number of people with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate is surging - one in five deaths between March 28 and April 3 were linked to the virus
Debbie Cholwill said her mother passed away on April 10. 
On Facebook, she wrote: 'It is with deep sadness that I am putting this message on sadly after six years of my mum being in a care home with dementia she sadly passed away last night, after testing positive for Coronavirus. 
'What makes it more difficult to except we could not be with her, because of the lock down, I now have to live with the guilt of her dying alone, I know she is at peace now and suffering no more.
'I just hold her In my heart and treasure the memories I have of a wonderful mum, nan, and great great grandmother RIP and fly high love you mum.'
Chris Schmid told MailOnline his great aunt Isabel Francis, 94, passed away in Fieldway care home in Mitcham, South London on Friday, April 10.
He said: 'The official cause of death has been recorded as a stroke however we would like to have her body tested for covid-19.'
Mr Schmid said his mother, 'raised concerns about the possibility of Coronavirus due to Isabel's rapid deterioration in health.'
Mrs Francis had been a resident at the £1,000-a-week care home since September 2018.
Mr Schmid said added: 'I visited care home last week and can confirm staff are not wearing PPE.
'We are not aware of any other residents diagnosed with covid-19 however no one is being tested.'Debbie Cholwill said her mother (pictured) passed away on April 10. On Facebook, she wrote: 'It is with deep sadness that I am putting this message on sadly after six years of my mum being in a care home with dementia she sadly passed away last night, after testing positive for Coronavirus'
Debbie Cholwill said her mother (pictured) passed away on April 10. On Facebook, she wrote: 'It is with deep sadness that I am putting this message on sadly after six years of my mum being in a care home with dementia she sadly passed away last night, after testing positive for Coronavirus'Ms Cholwill paid tribute to her beloved mother after her death just days ago
Elaine Shirt had to put her 'lovely' father Cyril Lawrence, 99, into respite in a care home after her mother was taken ill recently and went into hospital. 
Ms Shirt said her parents were due to return home when the care home her father was in went into lockdown, so he remained there. 
But he is now fighting for his life after falling ill over the weekend. 
Aged 19, in 1939, Mr Lawrence lied about his age in order to register for national service before conscription was introduced. 
A budding football player who was on the verge of signing for Blackpool United, he was deployed on the brand new battleship HMS King George V, assigned to the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.
He spent more than five years serving on the ship, which performed an active combat role and witnessed some of the most historic episodes of the war, including the pursuit and sinking of the Bismarck and the surrender of Japan. 
Ms Shirt told MailOnline: 'All was well until Good Friday. We had video calls with him, he looked really well and on Sunday enjoyed his evening meal and even asked if could have had a little more. An hour later, an ambulance arrived and he was taken into hospital. Fran
'I then tried contacting the hospital and at 4am a lovely Consultant phoned to say my dad was extremely poorly. It was a big shock. He was put on oxygen, fluids and antibiotics and swabs for the virus taken.
'At 8pm last night my mum and I said goodbye to my dad. Mun told him as I did how much he was loved. He couldn't speak but we were told he could hear us. It was heartbreaking and the two lovely nurses wearing masks and gloves broke down crying with us. 
'I never in a million years thought this would happen at the end of life. My dad is battling on but it’s just a question of time now.
'Dad is the longest surviving player of Blackpool Rochdale and Wrexham football clubs. 
'He’s a battler and I know he’s doing his utmost to beat this but I know he won’t. I’m waiting totally heartbroken supporting my mum. 
'My mum will be 100 on June 3, and dad 100 on the 12th. To be cruelly taken like this is just so very sad.' 
Mr Lawrence's early career at sea was spent on the Arctic convoys delivering aid and essential supplies to the Soviet Union.
He represented the Royal Navy at football, appearing in exhibition matches in Cairo and Alexandria and against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Elaine Shirt had to put her 'lovely' father Cyril Lawrence, 99, into respite in a care home after her mother was taken ill recently and went into hospital. Pictured, Mr Lawrence (front row, third from left) with Stan Mortensen (front row, sixth from left) at Blackpool in 1939
Elaine Shirt had to put her 'lovely' father Cyril Lawrence, 99, into respite in a care home after her mother was taken ill recently and went into hospital. Pictured, Mr Lawrence (front row, third from left) with Stan Mortensen (front row, sixth from left) at Blackpool in 1939
Avice Howarth's mother passed away on April 10. 
Posting on Facebook, Avice wrote: 'My mum passed away in a care home without any off her family at her side, she'd been ill but it was the corona virus that finally took her. RIP mum.'
Trisha Lynch paid an emotional tribute to her brother, who died in a nursing home yesterday morning. 
She wrote on Facebook: 'Please pray for my brother who passed away earlier this morning. The nursing home where he was in, lost three patients during the night. I'm totally heartbroken. May he Rest In Peace.'
Jane Rudge's mother is a resident at Hopwood Court care home in Alvechurch, Worcestershire. 
She said: 'They have had their first confirmed corona resident in the last few days after their transfer to hospital. I understand several of the other residents, including my 94-year-old mother, are now ill and the manager would like all staff and residents to be tested but is receiving no help at all from any of the public bodies - CCG, PHE, Council, etc. 
'This is becoming a dire situation that needs to be addressed urgently. 
'There has been no attempt to test, and the manager cannot find anyone who will offer this. The staff are being amazing but it is a terrible burden for them to carry on working in such conditions.' 
Julie Yates says she fears for her mother, a resident at the Abacus Care Home in Burton-Upon-Trent. 
Ms Yates told MailOnline: 'There have been three deaths due to coronavirus and two more residents currently have it too. 
'My family have not been advised of any deaths until I found out this evening through a friend of a friend.'
The daughter of a pensioner who died after contracting coronavirus has raised concerns about her care.
Carole Foster passed away last Wednesday at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, just one day after being admitted.
The 77-year-old had been admitted there from Rochester Care Home.
Her daughter Tracey Bonfield told Kent Online she was called by a worker at the home and told her mother was unwell with a suspected urine infection.
Ms Bonfield said: 'She then said, 'I'm going to be really honest. We had residents who went to hospital with Covid-19 and we think she has got it'.'  
After she passed away, doctors confirmed Mrs Foster had tested positive for coronavirus.
Ms Bonfield, 53, believes her mother should have been admitted to hospital sooner. 
She told Kent Online: 'She went into a coma and I agreed to no ventilator because of her age. 
'The cough was unbelievable. They put her on full strength oxygen. To see someone in that state, coughing and gasping for breath, it's awful.'
She added: 'I was one of the lucky ones, I got to see my mum.'
A spokesman for the company declined to comment on whether residents had been tested or if any other residents or staff had the illness. 
In a statement, Agin Care said: 'The death of any resident in our care home is always a sad time and our heartfelt condolences go out to the family during this difficult time.
'We are proud of the good reputation Rochester Care Home holds and we continue to put our residents' care at the centre of everything we do.
'We would like to reassure our residents' families and friends that our management and care teams are taking all necessary steps possible to ensure the safety of all of our residents and staff during the current challenging and unprecedented times.
'Rochester Care Home continues to carefully follow the government and Public Health England guidance on all aspects of care delivery, recommended use of personal and protective equipment and restricted access to the care home in relation to the current pandemic situation.'
George Hillhouse's 74-year-old mother, Helen Smith, died at Almond Court care home in Drumchapel on Saturday.
Mrs Smith, who had vascular dementia, had been living in the home for four years.
Five elderly residents have died at Almond Court in recent days, according to The Scottish Sun.
One staff member is also reportedly ill at the 42-bed care home.
Mr Hillhouse told STV News his mother was 'the life and soul of the party' and 'cherished her grand kids more than anything'.
He added: 'It was a horrible situation to be in and to be there on your own makes it difficult.  
'You're sitting there with a gown, you're sitting there with masks and you're sitting there with gloves which all of the staff at Almond Court did have. Every time they came into mum's room the PPE was there for them.
'I will never see my mum again now that she's passed because of the Covid 19 restrictions.
'What I can't get my head around is why people in care homes, residents and staff, are not being tested for Covid-19.
'So you're getting the death certificate through, which I have got through this morning by email, and it's a presumed Covid-19 and it's not fair that the staff and the other residents are not being tested.'
 
Boss of Britain's largest care operator claims TWO THIRDS of homes have had coronavirus
Sir David Behan, non-executive chairman of HC-One, revealed 311 residents and one member of staff have died in its homes as a result of suspected COVID-19. 
And he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that 2,400 cases of either suspected or confirmed coronavirus have been recorded in 232 of its 330 homes. He also agreed the two-thirds figure was a more 'realistic picture' for the true size of the crisis across the UK. 
Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, Sir David - a former chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) - said: 'This terrible virus does target older people and people with underlying conditions.
'What that means is some of the frailest elderly people we've got in our society are in care homes and therefore those people are at increased risk.'
He added that HC-One, which operates 330 care homes in Britain, had 2,407 cases of suspected or confirmed coronavirus. 
Older people are known to be more likely to die if they catch COVID-19 - more than half of the UK's 10,261 deaths recorded by the NHS have been among people over 80. Almost all victims (92 per cent) have been older than 60.
Sir David said: 'There have been 311 residents who have died as a result of suspected COVID-19. Over the weekend we've lost one member of staff.
'COVID-19 deaths are representative of just about a third of all deaths we've had over the last three weeks.'
Britain's known care home death toll is now at least 275, but industry experts warned the true figure is likely to already be in the thousands. 
Data from Italy, Spain and France shows between 42 and 57 per cent of all coronavirus deaths have been in care homes - combined, those countries have had more than 53,000 fatalities.
London School of Economics researchers found the most robust evidence was from Ireland, where 54 per cent of fatalities have occurred in homes.
One expert said the findings 'clearly show the lack of focus on the elderly' and said that Britain's most vulnerable deserve better than to be 'ignored and forgotten'.
Last week Professor Whitty said that just over nine per cent of care homes had cases of COVID-19.  
At the Downing Street briefing last night, he revealed the figure had jumped to around 13.5 per cent - statistically a jump of 50 per cent in a week.
Revealing the scale of Britain's crisis, he added there have been COVID-19 outbreaks in 92 care homes in the last 24 hours. There are 17,000 homes in England.  
The Daily Mail has been told that the figures are even worse in London, where almost a quarter of the 1,300 residential and nursing homes have been affected.
In just two care home operating companies - HC-One and MHA - at least 521 deaths have been reported among residents, The Guardian reported.
The claim is more than double the number of officially recorded fatalities and adds to growing pressure for authorities to be quicker and more accurate in the way they record people who succumb to COVID-19 in homes.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates all medical and care facilities in the UK, has announced it will start recording the deaths itself in a bid to improve transparency.
The CQC said that a lack of testing outside of hospitals meant many cases were being missed, and urged homes to include suspected cases in their reports in future, according to ITV News.  
A spokesperson for the regulator said: 'From this week, the death notifications we collect from providers will allow them to report whether the death was of a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.' 
The Labour Party's Shadow Minister for Social Care, Liz Kendall, said it is vital that more is done to protect care home residents and workers, and to offer the public a clear picture of what is happening behind their closed doors.  
'The increase in Covid-19 deaths in care homes is extremely worrying,' she said. 

CARE QUALITY COMMISSION WILL RECORD COVID-19 DEATHS 

As pressure grows on the authorities to better record deaths from the coronavirus in residential care homes, the sector regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it will now start to keep a record.
The CQC is an independent organisation which inspects and regulates hospitals, doctors' surgeries, care homes and other healthcare facilities.   
The body has announced it will start recording the deaths itself in a bid to improve transparency.
The CQC said that a lack of testing outside of hospitals meant many cases were being missed, and urged homes to include suspected cases in their reports in future, according to ITV News
It is hoped the new data will be faster and more up to date than current recording, which is done by the Office for National Statistics and comes out once per week, but is backdated almost two weeks. The most recent data only covers the period up to April 3. 
'But the true picture will sadly be even worse because these figures are only up to the week ending April 3.
'We urgently need these figures on a daily basis to help deal with the emerging crisis in social care and ensure everything possible is being done to protect more than 400,000 elderly and disabled people who live in nursing and residential care homes.
'The Government has rightly said the NHS will get whatever resources it needs to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
'This must also apply to social care, which needs a much greater priority and focus than it has had so far.'
Ms Kendall called on the Government to set out how it would improve the situation in today's Downing Street briefing.
Care home bosses around the country are already angry at how their businesses are being treated by the Government.
One furious manager accused Public Health England of 'playing Russian roulette' with elderly residents' lives by requiring homes to take back patients who had been hospitalised with COVID-19 symptoms.  
Rachel Beckett, chair of Wellburn, which has three homes in North East England, said every home was being instructed to re-admit residents from hospital. 
She said: 'The instruction from Public Health England (PHE) also goes on to say that, "because of the lack of testing available, the readmissions may or may not have COVID-19".' 
She added: 'I’m absolutely sure you’d be hard pressed to find one care home provider in the UK that feels comfortable with this outrageous and reckless request.
'I have a duty of care to my residents, to their loved ones and my staff.

'TWO THIRDS OF HOMES COULD HAVE COVID-19' 

The chief of one of the UK's largest care home operators has said the scale of the disease's spread in residential facilities has been grossly underestimated.
Sir David Behan, non-executive chairman of HC-One, which cares for 17,000 people in 328 homes around Britain, said that the company had recorded 2,407 COVID-19 cases across its sites.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that suspected or confirmed coronavirus had been recorded in 232 of the company's 330 homes. 
And he said that proportion - around two thirds - was a 'realistic picture' of how he expected homes around the country to be affected. 
Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, Sir David - a former chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) - said: 'This terrible virus does target older people and people with underlying conditions.
'What that means is some of the frailest elderly people we've got in our society are in care homes and therefore those people are at increased risk.' 
He added: 'COVID-19 deaths are representative of just about a third of all deaths we've had over the last three weeks.'
'How can I, with good conscience, admit any patient back into any of our homes, when we have no idea if they have COVID-19 or not?'
Public Health England's Dr Nick Phin said the guidance had been developed to help people safely care for residents returning from hospital.
He said: 'It details measures to be taken to help minimise any risk of further transmission of COVID-19 to patients and staff within care homes'.
Another 30 care home deaths were confirmed over the Easter weekend as the virus spread through facilities in Essex, Durham and Glasgow.
Former pensions minister Baroness Rosalind Altmann, who has long campaigned for dignity for the elderly, said the crisis showed how some of society's most vulnerable were being 'abandoned like lambs to the slaughter'.  
She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning she was 'really concerned' about what is happening in the care sector.
Baroness Altmann said: 'We seem to have this artificial distinction between the NHS and what is called social care or elderly care in particular, and that is being overlooked, it seems to me.
'You know the Government has real problems and of course it has got difficult decisions to make.
'But we must not forget that the mark of a civilised society must reflect how it treats its most vulnerable and oldest citizens.' 
She added: 'I’m sure that the Government really cares about what’s happening and it’s an enormous task.
'We must not forget the most elderly in our population - the average age of people in our care homes is 85.
'Their lives are also valuable and they need the treatment and the equipment and the care that we would expect for anyone else in society as well.' 
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said she does not agree with Baroness Altmann's claims that the care sector is being left behind in tackling coronavirus.Julie Ding (pictured, right, as a child with her mother Roberta and late sister Susan) fears she will not be able to be at her dying mother's bedside because she was banned from visiting her nursing home
Julie Ding (pictured, right, as a child with her mother Roberta and late sister Susan) fears she will not be able to be at her dying mother's bedside because she was banned from visiting her nursing home
Julie Ding fears she will not be able to be at her dying mother's bedside after she was banned from visiting her nursing home.
The former social worker has not seen 83-year-old Roberta, who has motor-neurone disease, in six weeks since she was first taken to hospital then the care home.
To keep vulnerable people safe, some facilities have a blanket ban on visitors to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Miss Ding, 56, was her mother's full-time carer until her condition rapidly deteriorated, leaving her unable to walk or speak and able to breathe only with the help of a ventilator.
She has not seen her since she was taken to a nursing home from hospital on March 2, and has only chatted to her on video calls.
Miss Ding, from West Yorkshire, is desperate for her mother to return home as she fears her condition will worsen inside the home and she is scared she will die alone. She has no family other than her mother after her only sibling, Susan, died aged 49 in 2010.
'I made a promise to my mum I will always be by her side,' she said. 'I'm allowed in when she's in the last throes of death, the manager will decide.' 
She said: 'In fact, the PPE is being delivered to over 26,000 care settings across the country including care homes, home care providers and also hospices. 
'I think it is important that we continue to try and get that PPE out daily, not only to the NHS but to other key users of that.'
Ms Coffey added that she 'thinks' the Government has delivered about 8million bits of PPE to care homes around the country as well as hospices. 
Ms Coffey was this morning questioned on ITV's Good Morning Britain over the care homes crisis.
Host Piers Morgan said: 'It's quite hard to prepare and protect them properly if you have no idea of the scale of what you're dealing with.
'We've never seen this kind of carnage wreaking havoc on the lives of our healthcare workers and care workers.
'The least I expect is the Government knows how many of these people are dying, it shouldn't be too much to ask.'
When pressed on whether she had any idea over the true number of deaths in care homes, she said it was 'about 1,000'. 
Nadra Ahmed, chairwoman of the National Care Association, today said care homes were struggling to source and pay for PPE and prices were 'not sustainable'.
She said the Government had removed VAT on the essential kit for the NHS and urged it to do the same for the social care sector.
Ms Ahmed said one provider had paid £8,500 for just one week’s worth of PPE, adding: 'We’ve said to the Chancellor "take the VAT off PPE, these are essential items".
'They’ve taken it off for the NHS but they’ve not moved it for social care... without our staff we can’t deliver the care.'
Ms Ahmed added: 'If the social care sector fails, if there is provider failure, the problem is going to be much bigger for the Government and I think it’s very short-sighted of them not to have focused on social care much earlier.'  
The crisis is also affecting staff. Some carers have already walked out because they are petrified of 'running the gauntlet' every day without safety gear.
They fear catching the disease themselves or spreading it to loved ones or those they are supposed to be looking after.  
It comes amid accusations that care home victims are being 'airbrushed' out of the daily death toll which only includes hospital fatalities.
It was also claimed that some doctors were not recording coronavirus on death certificates of care residents.
An anonymous source who works in death registration in the south of England told Channel 4 News that 'in many cases' it was being left off.

Care home is transformed for 30 staff members who have left their families at home to sleep in bunk beds and care for residentsSt Brelades and The Cumberland care home, in Herne Bay, Kent, looks after women suffering from dementia. It has been entirely locked down to outside visitors, and all carers and staff have now left behind their homes and families, to live in the care home. Pictured, the temporary bedroom the carers have created in one of the offices

St Brelades and The Cumberland care home, in Herne Bay, Kent, looks after women suffering from dementia. It has been entirely locked down to outside visitors, and all carers and staff have now left behind their homes and families, to live in the care home. Pictured, the temporary bedroom the carers have created in one of the offices
Staff at the home in Kent have transformed offices into makeshift bedrooms as they stay there to look after the residents

Slumber party: Staff members are now living, eating and working together as they give up all their time to care for residents at the home
Slumber party: Staff members are now living, eating and working together as they give up all their time to care for residents at the home
Slumber party: Staff members are now living, eating and working together as they give up all their time to care for residents at the home 
St Brelades and The Cumberland care home, in Herne Bay, Kent, looks after women suffering from dementia. 
It has been entirely locked down to outside visitors, and all carers and staff have now left behind their homes and families, to live in the care home.
Many of the existing carers have left their own families to stay in the facility.  
There are now about 30 carers living in the home looking after 55 residents.
The management have adapted the home to accommodate both the carers and residents living together, including all the offices, training rooms and meeting rooms to hold new beds and bunk beds. 
Barbeques, X-Boxes, PlayStations, and Wii consoles have now been ordered to keep staff entertained during their stay.
Entertainment for the residents is being provided by an entertainer who has volunteered to live permanently in the home. The carers and entertainers play live music and arrange various other activities for the residents, including exercise classes, art and crafts, baking, and activities done via live streaming on TV's.
Larry Berkowitz, Owner of St Brelades and The Cumberland, told MailOnline: 'We've never faced anything like this before, and we've worked really hard to make sure that our residents and carers are all as safe as possible. 
'I am so proud of all the carers for their sacrifice, dedication and hard work, and for the way in which they have all come together in really tough circumstances to provide the best possible care for those who are most in need.' Residents at the home are urging members of the public to stay in their homes

St Brelades and The Cumberland care home, in Herne Bay, Kent, looks after women suffering from dementia
Care home deaths 'airbrushed' off official records with thousands of cases recorded as Alzheimer's or 'old age', critics warn
Care home victims of the virus are being 'airbrushed' out of official death tolls despite as many as half of fatalities happening there, it was claimed.
The number is largely unrecorded because figures released by Public Health England only relate to hospital deaths.
As the elderly residents are generally only tested if they are admitted to A&E, MPs warned that thousands of fatalities could be 'swept under the carpet'.Fifteen out of 20 residents of Oaklands Nursing Home in East Sussex last week developed coronavirus symptoms, with a member of staff in intensive care. However, just three were tested – among them Giuseppe Casciello, 95, who died on March 30. He is pictured here with family
Fifteen out of 20 residents of Oaklands Nursing Home in East Sussex last week developed coronavirus symptoms, with a member of staff in intensive care. However, just three were tested – among them Giuseppe Casciello, 95, who died on March 30. He is pictured here with family

Whistleblower claims UK's COVID-19 death total could be DOUBLE the official figure

A whistleblower has claimed the true coronavirus death total could be double the official figure.
The source, who works in death registration in the south of England, said 'dozens and dozens' of errors are being made on death certificates in care homes and the community.
They said 'old age, dementia or Alzheimer's' was being used as the 'easy option' by GPs without any reference to the deadly bug.
They cited a conversation with one doctor who revealed they had put the cause of death on one document as 'Alzheimer's', when 'it was probably Covid'.
The whistleblower told Channel Four News if care home and community deaths were accurately recorded, it would equal the hospital deaths in their area.
They added that the country will never know the true number of deaths from the illness.
The figures are later counted by the Office for National Statistics when listed on death certificates but there is a long delay.
The most recent statistics – which only go as far as the week ending March 27 – said there had been just 20 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes.
But Care England estimated there have been nearly 1,000 deaths from the disease in elderly people in sheltered accommodation.
And yesterday a study suggested that about half of Covid-19 victims on the Continent are from care homes.
Figures from varying official sources in Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and Belgium estimated between 42 per cent and 57 per cent of deaths from the virus have been happening in homes, research by academics based at the London School of Economics found. Covid-19 fatalities are not recorded unless doctors put it on death certificates.
And last night a whistle-blower told Channel 4 News that this was not happening with those who die in care home in many cases.
The unnamed worker in death registration in the South of England said if the number were being accurately counted it would be equal to the toll in hospitals in their region.
But he revealed instead they put down old age dementia or Alzheimer's – with no mention of Covid-19 – because it was an 'easy option' for GPs.
The whistle-blower claimed he was even told by a family doctor in a phone conversation that they had done this.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: 'The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don't matter.'
Labour MP Peter Kyle described the system as the 'final insult' to care home residents.Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) has pledged to review the official rules
Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) has pledged to review the official rules
He said: 'They are already dying alone, separated from the people they love in their final moments.
'Society would never stand for someone who fell in battle not to be recorded as such, and this generation who has given so much to our country deserve nothing less than the truthful record of how they died.'
Liz Kendall, Labour's social care spokesman, has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to raise her concerns.
And she has demanded the Government publish the number of care home fatalities daily alongside deaths in hospitals. She said: 'The delay obscures the scale of the spread of Covid-19 in care homes and the impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
'It is hugely worrying – how can you tackle a problem when you don't know the scale of it in real time?
'Families desperately worried about their loved ones need to know. Every death counts. The Government has to act as a matter of urgency.'
Sarah Owen MP, a member of the Commons health committee, added: 'Under-reporting could have a profound effect on how decision-makers are responding to coronavirus.
'We already know that care homes and social care workers are struggling to receive the adequate support they need in terms of job security, as well as protective equipment at work.'
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: 'We will always be transparent with the public.
'The vast majority of serious cases and fatalities of the virus will occur in hospital settings and for this reason this is also where we concentrate most of our testing. This is the best way to get consistent, up to date and reliable daily figures.'
 
The elderly in care homes are being abandoned like lambs to the slaughter, says former Pensions Minister ROS ALTMANN
After Boris Johnson fell ill it became fashionable to herald the incident as proof that coronavirus does not discriminate.
But we know perfectly well that it does discriminate, by hitting older people with far more lethal force.After Boris Johnson fell ill it became fashionable to herald the incident as proof that coronavirus does not discriminate, says former pensions minister Ros Altmann
After Boris Johnson fell ill it became fashionable to herald the incident as proof that coronavirus does not discriminate, says former pensions minister Ros Altmann

Dozens of residents die from coronavirus across the UK

Yorkshire - 13: 13 residents have died at a care home in Yorkshire  
Luton - 15: Castleroy Residential home is believed to have had 15 deaths from coronavirus 
Bristol - undisclosed: Edgemont View Nursing Home has closed to visitors after 'a number of deaths' in recent days
Dumbarton, 8: Eight patients died at Castle View, in Dumbarton
Essex, 13: 13 residents are understood to have died at a home in Waltham Abbey 
Scotland - 32: So far in Scotland, 13 people have died at a care home in Glasgow, eight residents in a home in Dumbarton, nine residents in Tranent and two in an Edinburgh care home. 
Five elderly residents have also died at Almond Court in Drumchapel, Glasgow.  
Liverpool, 3:  At the Oak Springs Care Home in Wavertree, three residents died at the weekend, with one of them testing positive for the virus
Portsmouth, 4: Four elderly residents at Harry Sotnick House have died after showing Covid-19 symptoms and a fifth died without symptoms.
London, 7: Seven people living at Hawthorn Green Residential and Nursing Home in Stepney died after contracting the virus, the east London home said. 
Durham, 13: 13 people have died at Stanley Park Care Home in County Durham from Covid-19 symptoms.
Yet Government policies, combined with our apparent indifference to the plight of our parents' and grandparents' generation, have created a deadly wave which is crashing over our care homes.
Care England, which represents care providers, estimates almost 1,000 older people have died in care homes since the epidemic started. I use the term 'estimate' intentionally, because that's all it can do.
For, in an omission that speaks eloquently of a shaming state of mind which devalues the lives of the oldest generations, the Government does not include these deaths in the daily figures it releases.
But even if the deaths of the very old were given the same standing and dignity as the middle-aged and the young, it would be impossible for Health Secretary Matt Hancock to determine how many elderly people are succumbing to the virus because coronavirus testing is not being routinely carried out in care homes.
The little we do know, however, is terrifying. In recent weeks this pandemic has mercilessly charged through 2,200 care homes. In just one 24-hour period, there have been 100 new outbreaks in care homes across the country.
All of which makes it baffling – disgraceful, even – that pleas from managers of care homes for personal protection equipment (PPE) are going unanswered.
It's hardly surprising that many petrified staff are considering refusing to return to their jobs until they're given adequate safety equipment. They are concerned not just about themselves but also about spreading the disease to others.
There is much heroism among the staff, particularly those who have moved into care homes to reduce the risk of infection.
But otherwise there are few redemptive news stories to be found here. Just hidden silent death, with our elderly citizens who raised us and demanded so little in return now slipping away alone and isolated.
The shameful truth is that many care home residents who fall ill are being refused hospital admission.
One woman of 90 who lives near me had a carer twice a day. But that carer became unwell and was not replaced.
As a result, the vulnerable woman was left to fend for herself and nearly died of dehydration after an ambulance service refused to take her to hospital for treatment.

Care home staff could be 'forced to wear bin bags as PPE' 

Ceri Roberts, managing director of Cariad Care Homes, in Gwynedd, told  the Daily Post that she attempted to buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from two major suppliers online.
But she was told they were 'only delivering to care homes in England.' Ms Roberts said that, unless she manages to get hold of more PPE quickly, by the middle of next week the staff at the Bodawen home in Porthmadog and Plasgwyn in Criccieth will have to wear black bin bags instead.
She said: 'I tried to buy £550 worth of masks, gloves and aprons only to be offered a couple of boxes of gloves and some hairnets for £83.
'I couldn't believe it that one part of the UK was being prioritised over the rest – are masks and aprons only for care staff in England? I was just dumbfounded to be told that they wouldn't sell to care providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
'These are frightening times and my team are doing everything they can to keep the virus at bay because we know if it does get in it will have disastrous consequences. No matter how good your infection control is, if it gets in it will be catastrophic because of the vulnerability of the people we are looking after.'
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said some distributors are prioritising supply to central UK stocks, which 'supports a planned and coordinated response'. The spokesman added: 'The Department of Health and Social Care is working very closely with the devolved administrations in ensuring there is sufficient PPE to meet the clinical need across the health and social care sector.
'Supply routes have been set up within each nation to provide PPE to frontline services.'
In all my decades of campaigning for the dignity of the elderly, there has been no clearer snapshot of how they are being abandoned like lambs to the slaughter. 
They are being left to die because we don't value their lives as highly as the young.
Of course, the Government keeps out of the debate by refusing to confirm that any such policy exists.
And certainly some would say that we should discriminate in favour of the young over the very old.
But that does not mean that the NHS should be favoured over the care sector even before our hospitals have reached full capacity.
These elderly are not being offered the best chance to recover today in case our health system needs to treat younger people tomorrow.
There are no winners here, but when hospitals do not take in the elderly they face a horrible death, at home or in care homes, without ventilators or oxygen nor even the palliative care that any civilized society should be able to provide.
Once again, the elderly are being hung out to dry by this country's failure to eliminate the artificial distinction between 'health' and 'care'.
A millionaire with cancer would normally be treated by the NHS with state of the art equipment and expensive drugs.
But an old person with coronavirus or other illnesses may be abandoned in their care home, all the while using their life savings or family home to cover enormous fees.
We rightly laud the brave NHS workers at the front line of this wretched epidemic. We celebrate our healthcare system not just for what it does, but for what it says about us as a civilized society.
But when our compassion fails those who need it most and to whom we owe everything, can we really be so sure of our moral superiority?         

Care worker 'told to work despite displaying COVID-19 symptoms' is hospitalised with virus

An anonymous worker has detailed how a manager at a care home in the south west of England 'told carers to come to work despite a cough'.
She said: 'The manager of the care home... said ''don't think if you've got a cough you're not coming in to work''. The carers work really hard and always turn up for work so for someone to say that to them, of course they are going to come in.
'And then one of the supervisors got admitted to hospital for three days with coronavirus last week.'
'She had been working up until then, she could have infected people in the care home and others she was working with. But they had no masks.' 
Speaking of her own experience with the virus. the carer said: 'I had the cough and couldn't taste anything, I could have drank a glass of vinegar.
'The first week wasn't too bad, I had a temperature, but the second week hit me like a rock. I couldn't walk upstairs without gasping and it was touch and go whether I would have to go to hospital. But I made it through and i'm fine.
'The doctor told me to stay at home after the first week even though I felt better, and thank god he did, otherwise I would have gone back to work. We just don't know as there is no testing.
'Fortunately I had a mask and was wearing it religiously, thank god I was because otherwise I would have infected everybody that i'd gone to care for in their homes and everyone that I work with - the eldest woman that I work with is 105, it would have been life threatening for her. There's no PPE for most care workers, just gloves and aprons.'
MailOnline has contacted the care home in question for comment.


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