Boss of Britain’s largest care operator claims TWO THIRDS of homes have had coronavirus


Julie Ding (right) fears she will not be able to be at her dying mother’s bedside after she was banned from visiting her nursing home. Pictured as a child with mother Roberta and late sister Susan 

The boss of Britain’s largest care home operator today suggested two thirds of all homes across Britain have recorded coronavirus cases.

Sir David Behan, non-executive chairman of HC-One, revealed 311 residents and one member of staff have died as a result of suspected COVID-19. 

And he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that 24,000 cases of either suspected or confirmed coronavirus have been recorded in 232 of its 330 homes. He also agreed the two-thirds figure was a more ‘realistic picture’ for the true size of the crisis across the UK. 

Sir David’s comments come after the coronavirus crisis unfolding in Britain’s care homes was dramatically laid bare last night:

  • A study suggested up to half of the UK’s COVID-19 deaths could take place in care homes, even though they are not included in official figures;
  • England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty revealed that nearly 100 more homes had reported outbreaks in the past 24 hours. He said more than 13 per cent had now been hit nationally by the deadly disease, the equivalent of a staggering 2,200 homes;
  • A whistle-blower accused some doctors of ‘airbrushing’ coronavirus off the death certificates of society’s most vulnerable;
  • And an ex-cabinet minister claimed care home residents were being abandoned like ‘lambs to the slaughter’ during the crisis;
  • The threat from coronavirus in care homes is now so grave that terrified staff are refusing to work.

Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, Sir David – former chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – said: ‘This terrible virus does target older people and people with underlying conditions.

‘What that means is some of the frailest elderly people we’ve got in our society are in care homes and therefore those people are at increased risk.’

He added that HC-One, which operates 330 care homes in Britain, had 24,047 cases of suspected or confirmed coronavirus. 

Case study one: Fifth of our residents have died

Nearly a fifth of residents at one care home have died after they developed coronavirus symptoms.

The outbreak at Stanley Park Care Home in Stanley, County Durham, has claimed the lives of 13 occupants.

The deaths occurred after one resident died in hospital in March. Another patient is in hospital with the virus.

Stanley Park Care Home in County Durham, has lost 13 occupants

Stanley Park Care Home in County Durham, has lost 13 occupants

Care UK, which runs the home, said that, while all the residents who had died showed virus symptoms, only one had officially tested positive for Covid-19.

The 71-bed residential home provides around-the-clock care for those aged over 65 and dementia sufferers. A relative of one patient said the deaths were ‘terribly distressing’ for staff. He said: ‘I know they are all devastated at the loss of 13 residents, which isn’t far from 20 per cent of the total.

‘You can imagine because of some of the residents having one-to-one care, it’s like losing a member of your family.’

Care UK’s regional director Karen Morrison said: ‘My heart goes out to the families and friends of residents who have passed away over the past few days. We are all thinking of them at this difficult time and send our condolences and best wishes. The manager and her team continue to be absolutely amazing and I cannot thank them enough.

‘I’d like to reassure everyone, including relatives of those in the home, that we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe and comfortable. We have all the necessary PPE and we continue to use it meticulously as we have since the first case was seen at the end of last month.’ 

Sir David said: ‘There have been 311 residents who have died as a result of suspected COVID-19. Over the weekend we’ve lost one member of staff.

‘COVID-19 deaths are representative of just about a third of all deaths we’ve had over the last three weeks.’

Britain’s known care home death toll is now at least 275, but industry experts warned the true figure is likely to already be in the thousands.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last week showed eight per cent of all deaths occurred in care homes.

But the daily updates given by the Department of Health do not currently take these figures into account. Instead, it reports hospital deaths.

Data from Italy, Spain and France shows between 42 and 57 per cent of coronavirus deaths have been in care homes. 

London School of Economics researchers found the most robust evidence was from Ireland, where 54 per cent of fatalities occurred in homes.

One expert said the findings ‘clearly show the lack of focus on the elderly’ and said that Britain’s most vulnerable deserve better than to be ‘ignored and forgotten’.

Last week Professor Whitty said that just over nine per cent of care homes had cases of COVID-19.  

At a Downing Street briefing last night, he revealed the figure had jumped to around 13.5 per cent – statistically a jump of 50 per cent in a week.

Revealing the scale of Britain’s crisis, he added there have been COVID-19 outbreaks in 92 care homes in the last 24 hours. There are 17,000 homes in England.  

The Daily Mail has been told that the figures are even worse in London, where almost a quarter of the 1,300 residential and nursing homes have been affected.

Another 30 care home deaths were confirmed over Easter, as the virus spread through facilities in Essex, Durham and Glasgow.

Case study two: It’s the most soul-destroying thing I have ever experienced

The owner of a nursing home where nine residents have died from coronavirus has described watching the crisis unfold as the ‘most soul-destroying’ experience of her life.

The first virus death at Wren Hall Nursing Home in Nottinghamshire, which specialises in dementia care, was two weeks ago.

Since then eight more have died, including a 91-year-old man over the weekend, and 16 more are infected.

Asked how she is, care home owner Anita Astle said: 'Broken, I think'

Asked how she is, care home owner Anita Astle said: ‘Broken, I think’

Asked how she is, the home’s owner Anita Astle said: ‘Broken, I think.’

She added: ‘Usually this job is the best job in the world. It’s so rewarding.

‘We’re having to monitor people very closely. We are observing people deteriorate very rapidly and the awful thing is there’s very little we’re able to do to stop that.’

Miss Astle told Channel 4 News she did not think the residents who died would have survived if they had gone into hospital and ‘they’d probably have been sent back’.

She said: ‘It’s the most soul-destroying thing I’ve ever experienced.’ Care assistant Rebecca Mitchell was asked if she had second thoughts about going in to work at the home. She replied: ‘No, not at all. I’ve got a job to do. I’ll come and do it for as long as I’m well enough to. If I get Covid-19, then so be it. If I don’t, then I’m lucky.’

Emma Copley, a training nurse associate at the home, rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, said: ‘You think, hang on, that person’s end of life and we’re all in there with masks, they can’t see our face… it’s not the way Wren Hall dealt with end of life, but it’s the way we have to do it.’

Former pensions minister Baroness Altmann, who has long campaigned for dignity for the elderly, said the crisis showed how some of society’s most vulnerable were being ‘abandoned like lambs to the slaughter’.  

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning she was ‘really concerned’ about what is happening in the care sector.

Baroness Altmann said: ‘We seem to have this artificial distinction between the NHS and what is called social care or elderly care in particular, and that is being overlooked, it seems to me.

‘You know the Government has real problems and of course it has got difficult decisions to make.

‘But we must not forget that the mark of a civilised society must reflect how it treats its most vulnerable and oldest citizens.’ 

She added: ‘I’m sure that the Government really cares about what’s happening and it’s an enormous task.

‘We must not forget the most elderly in our population – the average age of people in our care homes is 85.

‘Their lives are also valuable and they need the treatment and the equipment and the care that we would expect for anyone else in society as well.’ 

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said she does not agree with Baroness Altmann’s claims that the care sector is being left behind in tackling coronavirus.

She said: ‘In fact, the PPE is being delivered to over 26,000 care settings across the country including care homes, home care providers and also hospices. 

‘I think it is important that we continue to try and get that PPE out daily, not only to the NHS but to other key users of that.’

Ms Coffey added that she ‘thinks’ the Government has delivered about 8million bits of PPE to care homes around the country as well as hospices. 

Ms Coffey was this morning questioned on ITV’s Good Morning Britain over the care homes crisis.

Host Piers Morgan said: ‘It’s quite hard to prepare and protect them properly if you have no idea of the scale of what you’re dealing with.

‘We’ve never seen this kind of carnage wreaking havoc on the lives of our healthcare workers and care workers.

‘The least I expect is the Government knows how many of these people are dying, it shouldn’t be too much to ask.’

When pressed on whether she had any idea over the true number of deaths in care homes, she said it was ‘about 1,000’. 

The crisis is also affecting staff. Some carers have already walked out because they are petrified of ‘running the gauntlet’ every day without safety gear.

They fear catching the disease themselves or spreading it to loved ones or those they are supposed to be looking after.  

It comes amid accusations that care home victims are being ‘airbrushed’ out of the daily death toll which only includes hospital fatalities.

It was also claimed that some doctors were not recording coronavirus on death certificates of care residents.

An anonymous source who works in death registration in the south of England told Channel 4 News that ‘in many cases’ it was being left off.

It came as Dominic Raab signalled the lockdown would continue in the UK, even as EU countries eased restrictions

It came as Dominic Raab signalled the lockdown would continue in the UK, even as EU countries eased restrictions

Case study three: Ban means I may never see mother again

Julie Ding fears she will not be able to be at her dying mother’s bedside after she was banned from visiting her nursing home.

The former social worker has not seen 83-year-old Roberta, who has motor-neurone disease, in six weeks since she was first taken to hospital then the care home.

To keep vulnerable people safe, some facilities have a blanket ban on visitors to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Miss Ding, 56, was her mother’s full-time carer until her condition rapidly deteriorated, leaving her unable to walk or speak and able to breathe only with the help of a ventilator.

She has not seen her since she was taken to a nursing home from hospital on March 2, and has only chatted to her on video calls.

Miss Ding, from West Yorkshire, is desperate for her mother to return home as she fears her condition will worsen inside the home and she is scared she will die alone. She has no family other than her mother after her only sibling, Susan, died aged 49 in 2010.

‘I made a promise to my mum I will always be by her side,’ she said. ‘I’m allowed in when she’s in the last throes of death, the manager will decide.’ 

Ministers were urged to take action to stop the shortage of PPE and testing, and help shield staff and residents from outbreaks.

The National Care Association warned that if the care system collapsed there would be a ‘horrendous’ impact on the already overstretched health service.

And the association called for the urgent appointment of a ‘Cabinet Minister for Care Homes’ to tackle the problem. 

Mr Whitty said the Government is trying to ‘extend the amount of testing of people in care homes as the ability to test ramps up over the next few weeks’.

The lack of protective gear is causing many care workers to fear going to work.

Nicola Roberts, who runs the Palms Row care homes in Sheffield, said staff absence has been ‘phenomenal’. She said 11 residents had died and a nurse is in intensive care with coronavirus.

She said: ‘Staff are too terrified to come to work. You can’t blame them. We’re asking staff to go to work with limited PPE and put their own families at risk.’

A care worker employed at a different home, a mother of three, told the Mail: ‘It’s like a ticking time bomb. Without proper safety equipment or tests for people working here, it’s a matter of when, not if there is a coronavirus outbreak.’

Gavin Edwards, of the Unison union, said: ‘The lack of PPE is a massive issue among care workers and accounts for two-thirds of the messages we’re getting from them. People are genuinely scared for themselves and the people they live with.’

Over Easter it emerged that 13 residents died in one home in Essex. It was also announced 13 have died at Stanley Park Care Home in County Durham and five at Almond Court in Glasgow.

Nadra Ahmed, of the National Care Association, said: ‘We are losing a whole generation to this virus but it feels like, because they are old, the deaths don’t count.’

Of 1,300 care and nursing homes in London, 290 have had residents go down with coronavirus.

The exact number in the capital’s care homes who have contracted the disease was not clear last night, but it is likely to be ‘well into four figures’, the Mail was told.

Care home deaths ‘airbrushed’ off official records with thousands of cases recorded as Alzheimer’s or ‘old age’, critics warn

Care home victims of the virus are being ‘airbrushed’ out of official death tolls despite as many as half of fatalities happening there, it was claimed.

The number is largely unrecorded because figures released by Public Health England only relate to hospital deaths.

As the elderly residents are generally only tested if they are admitted to A&E, MPs warned that thousands of fatalities could be ‘swept under the carpet’.

Fifteen out of 20 residents of Oaklands Nursing Home in East Sussex last week developed coronavirus symptoms, with a member of staff in intensive care. However, just three were tested – among them Giuseppe Casciello, 95, who died on March 30. He is pictured here with family

Fifteen out of 20 residents of Oaklands Nursing Home in East Sussex last week developed coronavirus symptoms, with a member of staff in intensive care. However, just three were tested – among them Giuseppe Casciello, 95, who died on March 30. He is pictured here with family

Whistleblower claims UK’s COVID-19 death total could be DOUBLE the official figure

A whistleblower has claimed the true coronavirus death total could be double the official figure.

The source, who works in death registration in the south of England, said ‘dozens and dozens’ of errors are being made on death certificates in care homes and the community.

They said ‘old age, dementia or Alzheimer’s’ was being used as the ‘easy option’ by GPs without any reference to the deadly bug.

They cited a conversation with one doctor who revealed they had put the cause of death on one document as ‘Alzheimer’s’, when ‘it was probably Covid’.

The whistleblower told Channel Four News if care home and community deaths were accurately recorded, it would equal the hospital deaths in their area.

They added that the country will never know the true number of deaths from the illness.

The figures are later counted by the Office for National Statistics when listed on death certificates but there is a long delay.

The most recent statistics – which only go as far as the week ending March 27 – said there had been just 20 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes.

But Care England estimated there have been nearly 1,000 deaths from the disease in elderly people in sheltered accommodation.

And yesterday a study suggested that about half of Covid-19 victims on the Continent are from care homes.

Figures from varying official sources in Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and Belgium estimated between 42 per cent and 57 per cent of deaths from the virus have been happening in homes, research by academics based at the London School of Economics found. Covid-19 fatalities are not recorded unless doctors put it on death certificates.

And last night a whistle-blower told Channel 4 News that this was not happening with those who die in care home in many cases.

The unnamed worker in death registration in the South of England said if the number were being accurately counted it would be equal to the toll in hospitals in their region.

But he revealed instead they put down old age dementia or Alzheimer’s – with no mention of Covid-19 – because it was an ‘easy option’ for GPs.

The whistle-blower claimed he was even told by a family doctor in a phone conversation that they had done this.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: ‘The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don’t matter.’

Labour MP Peter Kyle described the system as the ‘final insult’ to care home residents.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) has pledged to review the official rules

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) has pledged to review the official rules

He said: ‘They are already dying alone, separated from the people they love in their final moments.

‘Society would never stand for someone who fell in battle not to be recorded as such, and this generation who has given so much to our country deserve nothing less than the truthful record of how they died.’

Liz Kendall, Labour’s social care spokesman, has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to raise her concerns.

And she has demanded the Government publish the number of care home fatalities daily alongside deaths in hospitals. She said: ‘The delay obscures the scale of the spread of Covid-19 in care homes and the impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

‘It is hugely worrying – how can you tackle a problem when you don’t know the scale of it in real time?

‘Families desperately worried about their loved ones need to know. Every death counts. The Government has to act as a matter of urgency.’

Sarah Owen MP, a member of the Commons health committee, added: ‘Under-reporting could have a profound effect on how decision-makers are responding to coronavirus.

‘We already know that care homes and social care workers are struggling to receive the adequate support they need in terms of job security, as well as protective equipment at work.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘We will always be transparent with the public.

‘The vast majority of serious cases and fatalities of the virus will occur in hospital settings and for this reason this is also where we concentrate most of our testing. This is the best way to get consistent, up to date and reliable daily figures.’

The elderly in care homes are being abandoned like lambs to the slaughter, says former Pensions Minister ROS ALTMANN

After Boris Johnson fell ill it became fashionable to herald the incident as proof that coronavirus does not discriminate.

But we know perfectly well that it does discriminate, by hitting older people with far more lethal force.

After Boris Johnson fell ill it became fashionable to herald the incident as proof that coronavirus does not discriminate, says former pensions minister Ros Altmann

After Boris Johnson fell ill it became fashionable to herald the incident as proof that coronavirus does not discriminate, says former pensions minister Ros Altmann

Dozens of residents die from coronavirus across the UK

Yorkshire – 13: 13 residents have died at a care home in Yorkshire  

Luton – 15: Castleroy Residential home is believed to have had 15 deaths from coronavirus 

Bristol – undisclosed: Edgemont View Nursing Home has closed to visitors after ‘a number of deaths’ in recent days

Dumbarton, 8: Eight patients died at Castle View, in Dumbarton

Essex, 13: 13 residents are understood to have died at a home in Waltham Abbey 

Scotland – 32: So far in Scotland, 13 people have died at a care home in Glasgow, eight residents in a home in Dumbarton, nine residents in Tranent and two in an Edinburgh care home. 

Five elderly residents have also died at Almond Court in Drumchapel, Glasgow.  

Liverpool, 3:  At the Oak Springs Care Home in Wavertree, three residents died at the weekend, with one of them testing positive for the virus

Portsmouth, 4: Four elderly residents at Harry Sotnick House have died after showing Covid-19 symptoms and a fifth died without symptoms.

London, 7: Seven people living at Hawthorn Green Residential and Nursing Home in Stepney died after contracting the virus, the east London home said. 

Durham, 13: 13 people have died at Stanley Park Care Home in County Durham from Covid-19 symptoms.

Yet Government policies, combined with our apparent indifference to the plight of our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, have created a deadly wave which is crashing over our care homes.

Care England, which represents care providers, estimates almost 1,000 older people have died in care homes since the epidemic started. I use the term ‘estimate’ intentionally, because that’s all it can do.

For, in an omission that speaks eloquently of a shaming state of mind which devalues the lives of the oldest generations, the Government does not include these deaths in the daily figures it releases.

But even if the deaths of the very old were given the same standing and dignity as the middle-aged and the young, it would be impossible for Health Secretary Matt Hancock to determine how many elderly people are succumbing to the virus because coronavirus testing is not being routinely carried out in care homes.

The little we do know, however, is terrifying. In recent weeks this pandemic has mercilessly charged through 2,200 care homes. In just one 24-hour period, there have been 100 new outbreaks in care homes across the country.

All of which makes it baffling – disgraceful, even – that pleas from managers of care homes for personal protection equipment (PPE) are going unanswered.

It’s hardly surprising that many petrified staff are considering refusing to return to their jobs until they’re given adequate safety equipment. They are concerned not just about themselves but also about spreading the disease to others.

There is much heroism among the staff, particularly those who have moved into care homes to reduce the risk of infection.

But otherwise there are few redemptive news stories to be found here. Just hidden silent death, with our elderly citizens who raised us and demanded so little in return now slipping away alone and isolated.

‘My mum and I said goodbye to my dad and told him how much we loved him’: Relatives forced to say heartbreaking farewells to loved ones over the phone during crisis

Cyril Lawrence, 99, was a teenager when football last ground to a halt back in 1939. He is now in hospital after falling ill at a care home

Cyril Lawrence, 99, was a teenager when football last ground to a halt back in 1939. He is now in hospital after falling ill at a care home

Legacy: Lawrence (front row, third from left) with Stan Mortensen (front row, sixth from left) at Blackpool in 1939

Legacy: Lawrence (front row, third from left) with Stan Mortensen (front row, sixth from left) at Blackpool in 1939

Family members of coronavirus patients have contacted MailOnline with the heartbreaking stories of how they have been forced to say goodbye to their loved ones. 

Elaine Shirt had to put her ‘lovely’ father Cyril Lawrence, 99, into respite in a care home after her mother was taken ill recently and went into hospital. 

Ms Shirt said her parents were due to return home when the care home her father was in went into lockdown, so he remained there. 

Aged 19, in 1939, Mr Lawrence lied about his age in order to register for national service before conscription was introduced. 

A budding football player who was on the verge of signing for Blackpool United, he was deployed on the brand new battleship HMS King George V, assigned to the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.

He would spend more than five years serving on the ship, which performed an active combat role and witnessed some of the most historic episodes of the war, including the pursuit and sinking of the Bismarck and the surrender of Japan.

Mr Lawrence’s early career at sea was spent on the Arctic convoys delivering aid and essential supplies to the Soviet Union.

He represented the Royal Navy at football, appearing in exhibition matches in Cairo and Alexandria and against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Ms Shirt said: ‘All was well until Good Friday. We had video calls with him, he looked really well and on Sunday enjoyed his evening meal and even asked if could have had a little more. An hour later, an ambulance arrived and he was taken into hospital. 

‘I then tried contacting the hospital and at 4am a lovely Consultant phoned to say my dad was extremely poorly. It was a big shock. He was put on oxygen, fluids and antibiotics and swabs for the virus taken.

‘At 8pm last night my mum and I said goodbye to my dad. Mun told him as I did how much he was loved. He couldn’t speak but we were told he could hear us. It was heartbreaking and the two lovely nurses wearing masks and gloves broke down crying with us. 

‘I never in a million years thought this would happen at the end of life. My dad is battling on but it’s just a question of time now.

‘Dad is the longest surviving player of Blackpool Rochdale and Wrexham football clubs. 

‘He’s a battler and I know he’s doing his utmost to beat this but I know he won’t. I’m waiting totally heartbroken supporting my mum. 

‘My mum will be 100 on June 3, and dad 100 on the 12th. To be cruelly taken like this is just so very sad.’ 

To keep vulnerable people safe, some care homes have implemented a blanket ban on visitors to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

This has been the case for former social worker Julie Ding, 56, who has not been able to see her dying mother for more than a month.

Julie, from Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire, was a full-time carer of her mother, Roberta Ding, 83, after she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2018.

Julie Ding, 56, has not been able to see her dying mother for more than a month. Julie was a full-time carer of her mother, Roberta Ding, 83, after she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Pictured, Roberta Ding and her daughters Susan (left) and Julie (right)

Julie Ding, 56, has not been able to see her dying mother for more than a month. Julie was a full-time carer of her mother, Roberta Ding, 83, after she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Pictured, Roberta Ding and her daughters Susan (left) and Julie (right)

Her condition rapidly deteriorated and soon she was unable to walk or speak and could only breathe through a tracheostomy with the help of a ventilator.

Julie said her mother was in hospital before the coronavirus outbreak reached the UK and was subsequently taken to a nursing home on March 2.

It was the last time Julie physically saw her mother as she has only been able to contact her through video calls since.

Julie is desperate for her mother to return home as she worries Roberta’s condition will worsen and she will die at the nursing home alone.

After her only sibling, Susan, died aged 49 in 2010, Julie has no family other than her mother.

‘I made a promise to my mum that I will always be by her side,’ she said.

‘I’m allowed in when she’s in the last throes of death, the manager will decide.’ 

The shameful truth is that many care home residents who fall ill are being refused hospital admission.

One woman of 90 who lives near me had a carer twice a day. But that carer became unwell and was not replaced.

Care home staff could be ‘forced to wear bin bags as PPE’ 

Ceri Roberts, managing director of Cariad Care Homes, in Gwynedd, told  the Daily Post that she attempted to buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from two major suppliers online.

But she was told they were ‘only delivering to care homes in England.’ Ms Roberts said that, unless she manages to get hold of more PPE quickly, by the middle of next week the staff at the Bodawen home in Porthmadog and Plasgwyn in Criccieth will have to wear black bin bags instead.

She said: ‘I tried to buy £550 worth of masks, gloves and aprons only to be offered a couple of boxes of gloves and some hairnets for £83.

‘I couldn’t believe it that one part of the UK was being prioritised over the rest – are masks and aprons only for care staff in England? I was just dumbfounded to be told that they wouldn’t sell to care providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

‘These are frightening times and my team are doing everything they can to keep the virus at bay because we know if it does get in it will have disastrous consequences. No matter how good your infection control is, if it gets in it will be catastrophic because of the vulnerability of the people we are looking after.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said some distributors are prioritising supply to central UK stocks, which ‘supports a planned and coordinated response’. The spokesman added: ‘The Department of Health and Social Care is working very closely with the devolved administrations in ensuring there is sufficient PPE to meet the clinical need across the health and social care sector.

‘Supply routes have been set up within each nation to provide PPE to frontline services.’

As a result, the vulnerable woman was left to fend for herself and nearly died of dehydration after an ambulance service refused to take her to hospital for treatment.

In all my decades of campaigning for the dignity of the elderly, there has been no clearer snapshot of how they are being abandoned like lambs to the slaughter. 

They are being left to die because we don’t value their lives as highly as the young.

Of course, the Government keeps out of the debate by refusing to confirm that any such policy exists.

And certainly some would say that we should discriminate in favour of the young over the very old.

But that does not mean that the NHS should be favoured over the care sector even before our hospitals have reached full capacity.

These elderly are not being offered the best chance to recover today in case our health system needs to treat younger people tomorrow.

There are no winners here, but when hospitals do not take in the elderly they face a horrible death, at home or in care homes, without ventilators or oxygen nor even the palliative care that any civilized society should be able to provide.

Once again, the elderly are being hung out to dry by this country’s failure to eliminate the artificial distinction between ‘health’ and ‘care’.

A millionaire with cancer would normally be treated by the NHS with state of the art equipment and expensive drugs.

But an old person with coronavirus or other illnesses may be abandoned in their care home, all the while using their life savings or family home to cover enormous fees.

We rightly laud the brave NHS workers at the front line of this wretched epidemic. We celebrate our healthcare system not just for what it does, but for what it says about us as a civilized society.

But when our compassion fails those who need it most and to whom we owe everything, can we really be so sure of our moral superiority?         

Care worker ‘told to work despite displaying COVID-19 symptoms’ is hospitalised with virus

An anonymous worker has detailed how a manager at a care home in the south west of England ‘told carers to come to work despite a cough’.

She said: ‘The manager of the care home… said ”don’t think if you’ve got a cough you’re not coming in to work”. The carers work really hard and always turn up for work so for someone to say that to them, of course they are going to come in.

‘And then one of the supervisors got admitted to hospital for three days with coronavirus last week.’

‘She had been working up until then, she could have infected people in the care home and others she was working with. But they had no masks.’ 

Speaking of her own experience with the virus. the carer said: ‘I had the cough and couldn’t taste anything, I could have drank a glass of vinegar.

‘The first week wasn’t too bad, I had a temperature, but the second week hit me like a rock. I couldn’t walk upstairs without gasping and it was touch and go whether I would have to go to hospital. But I made it through and i’m fine.

‘The doctor told me to stay at home after the first week even though I felt better, and thank god he did, otherwise I would have gone back to work. We just don’t know as there is no testing.

‘Fortunately I had a mask and was wearing it religiously, thank god I was because otherwise I would have infected everybody that i’d gone to care for in their homes and everyone that I work with – the eldest woman that I work with is 105, it would have been life threatening for her. There’s no PPE for most care workers, just gloves and aprons.’

MailOnline has contacted the care home in question for comment.

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