At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Public Health England (PHE) and the government advised hospitals to free up as many beds as possible. This has led to the referral to care homes of inpatients who may have been carrying the virus.
The shortage of testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) in nursing homes has made matters worse.
At a meeting of the Adult Health and Social Care Review Committee on November 3, Cabinet Member Cllr Patricia Callaghan said, “At the very onset of the pandemic, we decided that if a resident should go out. from hospital within seven days of testing positive for Covid-19, they would be treated in an NHS community bed instead of returning to their care home.
“Working with our partner councils in North London, this was quickly replicated and helped us save lives – there were 11% fewer deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes in North London. London versus England and Wales. “
ONS data shows Covid-19-related deaths in care homes in Camden, Haringey and Barnet through June 1, 2020 were 44, 80 and 48, compared to 86 on average in England.
A report released by PHE in July this year identified 97 outbreaks (1.6%) in nursing homes due to “hospital-associated seeding,” but reports from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) claim that these numbers are underestimated, in part due to a lack of timely testing.
Cllr Callaghan, Cabinet Member for a Healthy and Caring Camden, added: “Nursing home testing began at the start of the pandemic and by May 2020, 1,000 nursing home staff had been tested. At the same time, we launched our Proud to Care rapid recruitment campaign to introduce additional caregivers.
“By July 2020, five million items of PPE had been provided free of charge to our care homes.”
Camden was a finalist for the LGC Awards based on this work.
“At Camden, we are very fortunate to have such brilliant staff and partners who have gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic,” said Cllr Callaghan.
“By working hand in hand with them, we have put in place a strong preventive approach and I am proud to see this recognized at the LGC Awards. “