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Four times as many April care home deaths in Birmingham

By Tom Dare | Birmingham | Coronavirus | Published: | Last Updated:

Four times as many people died in care homes in Birmingham this April than in April 2019, it has been revealed.

Figures published this week show that there were 416 deaths in care homes in Birmingham in April 2020, compared to just 99 in April 2019.

The spike in deaths coincides with the initial spike of the pandemic earlier this year, when the government discharged approximately 25,000 hospital patients back into care homes without requiring them to have a negative Covid-19 test first.

Published in response to a question by Tahir Ali MP, figures show a stark comparison between the number of care home deaths in 2019 and the number so far in 2020.

There were a total of 1,209 deaths in care homes throughout 2019, with the monthly peak coming in December when 145 people died.

In comparison, in the first six months of 2020 there were 1,087 deaths, with the peak arriving in April. Both March (176 deaths) and May (165 deaths) saw more deaths than the worst month in 2019.

While the official number of deaths from coronavirus in care homes has not yet been confirmed, this week the decision to allow hospital patients to be discharged into homes without Covid-19 tests back in March was described as “reckless” by MPs.

And Liam Byrne MP, the Member of Parliament for Hodge Hill who is also running for West Midlands Mayor next year, says it was the ‘chaos’ of the early days of the pandemic that led to care home deaths.

He said: "What these tragic statistics show is that chaos has cost lives, and it’s cost the lives of care home residents.

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"Ministers promised a protective ring around care homes, while in fact patients with Covid were being moved into shared accommodation with some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

"We must now urgently make sure the lessons are learned to protect our community for the future."

The full figures for care home deaths by month since the start of 2019 are:

  • June 2020 – 90
  • May 2020 – 165
  • April 2020 – 416
  • March 2020 – 176
  • February 2020 – 116
  • January 2020 – 124
  • December 2019 – 145
  • November 2019 – 100
  • October 2019 – 105
  • September 2019 – 91
  • August 2019 – 90
  • July 2019 – 111
  • June 2019 – 88
  • May 2019 – 99
  • April 2019 – 99
  • March 2019 – 87
  • February 2019 – 98
  • January 2019 – 96
Tom Dare

By Tom Dare

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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