Steve Powis said in Sunday’s press briefing that scale of deaths outside hospital won’t be known for some time, but ONS already reported a figure almost 25% higher than government’s – and trusts have said deaths in hospital twice as high
During Sunday’s press briefing alongside Michael Gove, NHS medical director Steve Powis told journalists that the government will not know how many people are really dying of the coronavirus for ‘days and weeks’.
Currently the government is only reporting deaths that take place in hospital and among patients with a confirmed coronavirus test.
Many care homes are reporting multiple deaths among their residents – and NHS hospitals are being forced by capacity constraints to send infected, elderly patients back to care homes even though this will almost certainly mean infecting other, highly vulnerable residents.
Powis said that although the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had begun reporting deaths outside hospital, it would take a considerable time for the scale of non-hospital mortality to become clear:
But the ONS has already reported – and according to its figures, almost a quarter more people had died of COVID-19 than were being reported by the government, even before the crisis had really taken hold in the UK.
But that is only a small part of the story. NHS hospitals in London have told each other that the government is under-reporting deaths in hospital – and whistleblowers say the under-reporting is by half.
It is against this backdrop that Tory policies and lack of preparation in ventilators are forcing trusts to send people back to care homes unequipped to care for them – and as one health worker told the SKWAWKBOX last week:
Forcing hospitals to send infected people back into care homes with no means of containing the virus is going to infect residents and the people caring for them. It’s the equivalent of pulling the pin on a grenade and throwing it into a room full of elderly people.
That’s basically what the government is doing. Their failure to start preparations when they had the opportunity is killing people and their failure to prepare now is going to kill even more. It’s unforgivable.
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