Coronavirus latest: GP blames policy for care home death rise

Dr Malcolm Kendrick said that in a desperate drive to clear out hospitals, Covid positive patients were discharged straight back into care homes causing havoc.

Guidance stated that patients who no longer required hospital level treatment were transferred to homes along with those who had not been tested.

The Cheshire-based GP said: “I have been at the sharp end of the Covid crisis. Twenty-three [elderly] patients I have seen, for one reason or another have died. Thirteen in one care home alone.

“I cannot say they all died of Covid, because until very recently we were not allowed to take swabs. Frustrating does not cover it. What I can say is that I believe the government guidance has been a major factor in driving the current explosion of deaths in care homes.

“In the desperate drive to clear out hospitals, Covid positive patients have been discharged straight back into care homes.

“We are now seeing the deaths and the spread will now be continuing through the care homes.”

He said it was an obvious risk to allow patients who may have Covid back into care homes without proper safeguards in place. Even efforts to isolate individuals were often impossible because of the nature of the homes.

But Dr Kendrick said: “What on earth did they think was going to happen? Has anyone who was involved in writing this guidance ever been into a care home?

“The idea that anyone in a care home can be effectively barrier nursed is pure fantasy. In many homes, other residents wander from room the room, touching everything in sight.

“Even if the patients do not wander, the staff have been provided with almost zero PPE.

“Barrier nursing is simply not possible in these environments.”

The World Health Organization said that it believed across Europe as many as half of coronavirus deaths could be among care home residents.

A Department of Health spokesman said that guidance has now been updated so that all care home residents discharged from hospital will be tested.

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