Care homes ‘responding well’ says Negrini – after 127 deaths

Deaths from coronavirus in Croydon’s care homes have reached 127, according to a report going before the council cabinet next Monday.

The figures have been compiled by Public Health England and include all deaths from the disease up to Monday, May 4. Not all the deceased have been tested for the presence of the virus, but their deaths have followed the appearance of covid-19 symptoms.

There are justifiable fears that the death toll in care homes could get much worse: Sean Fitzsimons, the Labour councillor who chairs the Town Hall scrutiny committee, described the borough’s care homes as “a ticking time bomb” during the coronavirus emergency.

In total, there have been 1,388 cases of covid-19 in the borough, with 259 deaths reported at Mayday Hospital (based on figures to May 3).

The report has been submitted by Jo Negrini, the council’s chief executive. It states, “Croydon has the largest care home market in London, with 230 care providers, 123 care homes (63 of whom support older people). As of 4 May, there were 1,560 residents in care homes across Croydon. 127 care home residents had died across Croydon due to covid-19.”

Jo Negrini: says there’s been no shortage of PPE in Croydon

According to Negrini, this demonstrates that the borough’s care homes are “responding well”.

The figures in Negrini’s report suggest the population of the borough’s care homes at only half of the 3,000 that was discussed by Fitzsimons’ scrutiny committee as recently as March.

There have been widespread reports of staff in care homes having to work without full or adequate PPE – personal protective equipment – which might protect them from catching the virus, or spreading it.

Having failed to stockpile sufficient equipment ahead of the crisis, the council has put out several appeals for donations of PPE. School pupils and undertakers have been among those to donate equipment in Croydon.

But in her report, Negrini says, “A dedicated PPE team has been established to coordinate orders, secure supplies and distribute stock. The team are also responding to enquiries, offers of help (eg from local businesses) and requests for emergency supplies from providers…

“Despite this significant demand, the council has maintained sufficient supplies for council staff and at no stage has [sic] services been impacted by a lack of PPE…

“In addition, and where required, emergency PPE supplies have been provided to suppliers (including Care Homes, Home Care, Children’s Residential Providers & Supported Living providers), particularly in adult services. As at 28 April, 118 emergency PPE supply packs had been given to providers where stocks were low.”

It was only at the start of this week that deaths in care home caused by the virus have been included in the daily, national covid-19 government briefing. So far, 29,427 deaths have been attributed to covid-19 in the United Kingdom, the highest death toll in Europe.

It is anticipated that coronavirus deaths in care homes will continue to increase that number significantly for some weeks yet, including in Croydon.

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5 Responses to Care homes ‘responding well’ says Negrini – after 127 deaths

  1. How can 127 extra deaths be described as “doing well” Ms Negrini, and how can we trust even these awful numbers if they are based on half the number of actual residents and what relevance does the delivery of PPE to “council staff” when these homes, although getting funding from the Council, are private enterprises staffed by non-Council staff?
    Given the vulnerability, the suffering involved in dying this way, the isolation from having family family around, we can do with the disingenuousness of this over-paid gravy trainer.

    • Some of the borough’s care homes are council-run, George.

      • Point taken. Many aren’t though, ditto mental health, physical disability and learning difficulties provision. When I started in Social Services in the late 1960’s all care was via local authority provision. It wasn’t perfect but there was a uniform standard with good training and employment conditions. Sadly all of this floundered from Thatcherism onwards.

        All of these groups of people are at high risk now. It is hard to practice social distancing when we don’t live in our own four wall.

  2. Colin Cooper says:

    Doubtless Negrini considers this a good thing as it’s reducing the level of expense in Council homes so there is enough money to pay her overinflated salary.

    • What we now know from the ONS is that even as far back as March, 1 in 5 Covid -19 deaths were just in the 5 year age range of 80 – 84. We also know that there is a considerable over-representation of Covid-19 deaths in the BAME population.

      Given the social demographics of Croydon, why on earth aren’t the Council using their public health resources to focus like a laser on all those in care homes and nursing homes?

      It’s not good enough to just go out on the pavement and sing “We’ll meet again” every 75 years!

      These homes were not built for social distancing measures and many of the staff are part-time, low paid, mainly women workers. This is a pandemic and public health and tracing staff need to concentrate on these places, make sure that hand-washing, isolating areas, care, comfort and counselling, safe access for closest relative contact and PPE are all in in place. I can’t think of anything worse for the sufferers and their families than for frail people to be contracting the virus and then coughing themselves to death without any family around.

      I can’t believe the complacency of people like Negrini. Doesn’t she know these facts? Is it ignorance or is it that she just doesn’t care?

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