Health bosses ‘working towards’ providing regular updates on care home coronavirus figures

PUBLISHED: 20:59 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 20:59 14 April 2020

Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle. Picture: Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street

Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle. Picture: Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street

Health bosses hope to soon be able to include care home death figures in daily coronavirus updates - but say the sheer volume of facilities have not made this possible thus far.

Speaking at the government’s daily briefing on the Covid-19 pandemic, Yvonne Doyle, chief medical director, addressed calls for greater clarity over the impact of the outbreak on the nation’s care homes.

Prof Doyle said: “The Office of National Statistics do collect total deaths but we are working to speed that up so we get quicker information. We would very much like to have the daily deaths but it is a bit more complicated for care homes. Over nine out of 10 deaths sadly do occur in hospital but out in the community there are a range of places they occur including care homes.

“In these very dispersed situation we need to be very certain of the cause of death attributed is correct and that is what takes time. We would like to have more details on these preferably on a daily basis and that is what we were working towards.”

She added: “I would very much like to have the best possible data on a daily basis and the care sector is very much seen as part of the health and care family, they are the front line.

“We have a number of outbreaks in care homes and there is very active input there to ensure that the damage and the harm to people is mitigated, so we work very actively with the care home sector, but it is a very dispersed sector.”

Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England added: “The reason we can provide the data from hospitals very quickly is there are fewer hospitals than care homes and a smaller number of organisations. Because our hospitals are very used to the process of supplying data to NHS England on a daily basis we in the hospital sector have a basis to get that data rapidly.

“The patients we report from hospital are those that have tested positive and again that is different for in the community, where doctors are registering deaths based on a probable diagnoses rather than a tested one, so there are key difference.”

Meanwhile, the latest localised figures show that 126 people have died in Norfolk hospitals after testing positive for the virus, with 699 confirmed cases in the county.

Of these, 47 were being treated at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, 41 at the Queen Elizabeth in King’s Lynn and 38 at the James Paget in Gorleston.

Care home fears - page 6.

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