A petition calling for an independent inquiry into why Hertfordshire care homes suffered one of the highest death tolls from Covid-19 in the country is being mounted by Herts Lib Dems.
Concerned members of the public are being urged to sign the petition that calls on Hertfordshire County Council to conduct a comprehensive review and potentially save lives going forward.
At the height of the epidemic, in the week ending 17 April, Hertfordshire and West Essex experienced the highest excess deaths in care homes from all causes, according to a report in the Health Service Journal on 2 May.
This was confirmed by data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that put Hertfordshire second behind Hampshire for deaths from Covid-19 in care homes. Between 10 April and 22 May, there were 251 deaths listing Covid-19 registered in Hertfordshire, in addition to more than 600 deaths in hospital.
Herts Lib Dems have calculated that more than 500 care home residents have died from Covid-19, drawing on various data sources.
Ron Tindall, adult care health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats on Herts County Council, said:
“We are concerned that the policy choices by Government may well have contributed to deaths, through the discharge of Covid-19 positive patients to care home settings which could not cope with essential infection control.
“County council staff have also confirmed that due to lack of testing they cannot be certain that asymptomatic patients were not admitted to care homes without proper isolation measures.
“Hertfordshire council officers have confirmed that the NHS discharged Covid-positive patients to care home settings where ‘isolation’ is possible, but evidence that care homes were unable to adequately isolate discharged residents is building, suggesting that such discharges may have led to care home outbreaks and unnecessary and preventable deaths.
“My colleagues and I are concerned, as are people across the country, that the Government acted too late and without taking on board the concerns of those in the care sector.
“This whole process needs a review and investigation once the Covid-19 crisis is under control. Lessons must be learned.”
Sign the petition: