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End-of-life charity says transfers to care homes was ‘gross negligence’

4 June, 2020

Figures released by NHS England yesterday confirmed that more 20,000 patients were discharged from hospitals into care homes between 17 March and 16 April, a time when testing for Covid-19 was not widespread.

In response to those figures, Simon Jones, director of policy and public affairs at the Marie Curie charity said that, while it was difficult to know exactly where and how coronavirus enters a care home, if people were discharged from hospital into that setting without being tested, then it called into serious question the thinking behind the process.

“Surely it is impossible for anyone, as the pandemic unfolded through March, not to have considered the consequence of putting someone with coronavirus into an environment like a care home,” said Mr Jones.

“Residential homes are designed, by nature, to encourage communal living. People personalise their rooms with comforts like soft furnishings and personal mementos. In some cases, these homes don’t offer clinical or nursing support or clinical provision is not geared up to manage a communicable disease as virulent as coronavirus. The obvious risks posed by discharging untested people from hospital into this environment is that they would then have to manage coronavirus in a setting that they are simply not geared up to do.

“The gross negligence shown to our older generation and those most vulnerable has had devastating consequences.”

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