Over 400 care home residents were dying every day with COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic, new analysis has found.
The findings by the PA news agency show there more than 3,000 COVID-19 related care home deaths in one week in April with the peak occurring on 17 April when 490 residents died with the virus.
Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford University, told Sky News that free staff movement could have had a “huge” impact during the height of the pandemic when comprehensive testing was not in place.
Additionally, analysis published in July showed that up to 16,000 elderly patients discharged into care homes between 17 March and 15 April were not tested for coronavirus.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, said: “Many care homes locked down before national guidance came into force.
“Unfortunately patients were discharged from hospital without testing and this, compacted with insufficient PPE, created huge challenges for care homes.
“Routine testing is absolutely essential in order to establish confidence in the system for residents, staff, relatives and beyond.”
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We have been doing everything we can to ensure care home residents and staff are protected, including testing all residents and staff, provided 200 million items of PPE, ring-fenced £600m to prevent infections in care homes and made a further £3.7bn available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic – including in adult social care.
“As a result of actions taken, almost 60% of England’s care homes have had no outbreak at all and the proportion of coronavirus deaths in care homes is lower in England than many other European countries.”