The Labour Party NI has called for an inquiry into the high number of
covid deaths in care homes. According to the NI Statistical Research
Agency, 40 percent of covid deaths in Northern Ireland took place in
care homes up to October 2020, from the date of the first covid death
in the province.
From the outbreak of the pandemic in early March to mid April 2020,
patients from hospitals were transferred to care homes before
safeguards were put in place. It is alleged patients were transferred
from hospital to care homes to free up pressure on hospital beds, thus
spreading covid infection to the most vulnerable elderly.
Some Health Trusts transferred up to 70 patients, who either tested
positive or showed symptoms of covid infection. By August 2020 there
were 176 reported outbreaks of covid infection in care homes in NI. To
what extent the transfer of patients from a hospital setting to care
homes led to the high proportion of deaths in this sector is unknown.
Families of the hundreds of elderly who died have a right to know if
the deaths of their loved ones could have been avoided before the
Stormont Health Minister imposed more robust health and safety
measures to protect the elderly in the early part of the pandemic.
The Labour Party NI believe the Stormont Executive should be held to
account for their actions throughout the pandemic, which has generally
followed the guidelines set at Westminster. Guidelines which resulted
in Britain including Northern Ireland having one of the highest deaths
from covid in the world.