Amnesty International have published a report ‘As if Expendable’, which in our view could alternatively be called Slaughter of the Innocents. It tells of what happened to residents and staff in English care homes between 2 March and 12 June 2020, with specific references to Hampshire.
The report’s conclusion is that the human rights of staff and residents in care homes have been ignored and violated. This includes the right to life and health together with the right to non-discrimination (by age).
Recorded deaths from the virus of care home residents during this period were 18,562. 13,844 of the deaths occurred in care homes, the remainder in hospitals. It is likely that the total figure of virus-related deaths during the period was higher as compared to previous years. The Government Office for National Statistics issued information on 27 November 2020 that excess winter deaths 2019 to 2020 were 28,300 in England and Wales (mostly pensioners) due to cold related illnesses. This figure excluded deaths registered from COVID-19.
Amnesty International state that amongst many matters of concern are:-
- Many discharges from hospital to care homes occurred of patients either infected or possibly so with the virus.
- Care home staff were advised that protective clothing was not required unless either they or the residents were symptomatic. Although knowledge of asymptomatic infection became known.
- Insufficient PPE equipment was available and efforts to source material were met by the response that the NHS had already secured everything available.
- A failure to ensure regular testing of care home workers and residents.
- Do not attempt to resuscitate orders have been imposed on some residents without reference to them or their families.
- Failure to assess care homes’ ability to cope with and isolate infected residents.
- Suspension of regular oversight procedures for care homes.
- When restrictions were eased during the summer, tragic consequences to some survivors were revealed, which included a loss of mobility, loss of cognitive function, loss of appetite, depression and loss of the will/desire to live.
- It was well known that 400,000 care home residents were at particular risk from the virus. The Government said ‘A protective ring was put around them.’ This was not true.
We join Amnesty in calling for the immediate formation of a public enquiry to further investigate and identify those responsible for the many failures involved in dealing with the pandemic, resulting in the deaths of many elderly people.
We invite you to support this action by contacting your elected representative.
Chair, Hampshire Unison Retired Members Section
Winchester SO22 5PW