Demand for answers after Covid-19 outbreak in Barking and Dagenham care home
- Credit: PA
An outbreak of Covid-19 at a care home has seen 40 people go down with the virus, a meeting heard.
The flare up led Cllr Maureen Worby, who chairs the town hall’s health and wellbeing board, to demand answers at a public meeting on Tuesday, November 10.
Matthew Cole, Barking and Dagenham’s director of public health, said in the meeting: “In most care homes we’ve been able to stop [Covid-19] dead because we’ve had very good systems in place.
“But there is the chance, as has happened in one care home, where we weren’t able to do that and it spread and we had 40 cases.”
The care home was not named in the meeting.
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Mr Cole added the impact of care home cases in Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering could not be understated.
He added officials had been unable to get the infection, protection and control support needed in the outbreak and there was variation in the support provided by GPs and healthcare providers.
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Cllr Worby, cabinet member for social care and health integration, said that colleagues in the clinical commissioning group (CCG) and NELFT needed to answer for what went on.
“I do not expect my staff to have to spend their time trying to convince the CCG there is a residential home with an outbreak.
“We know where our residential homes are. To have the CCG tell us it’s not a registered home creates a real problem.
“The residents in the home have been let down by their GP. Our GPs, on the whole, are brilliant and serve our community really well. But to not attend over the weekend and give support to staff...” Cllr Worby said.
Ceri Jacob from the CCG said the home was recorded as assisted living on a list generated by the Care Quality Commission.
This meant it was not covered by the director of enhanced services who oversees additional or out of hours medical services.
But Cllr Worby shot back, saying it didn’t wash and that administratively there was a mistake.
“Hold your hand up to that. These people were let down. It’s never been anything else but a home. People with dementia live there,” she said.
Ms Jacob said the home would be covered in future.
Dr Jagan John, deputy chairman of the board, said no GP in the country covers patients at weekends.
During the meeting, Mr Cole said mass testing and vaccination were not magic bullets.
“For my colleagues at care homes, Queen’s and King George, this is going to be a very tough winter,” he added.
However, he welcomed the fact both hospitals were included in a roll out of rapid swab testing for NHS staff.
Mr Cole went on to say the authority was aware of three cases where care home residents had Covid-19 tests in hospital but these weren’t recorded in their discharge paperwork.
The residents were sent back into homes but appropriate precautions weren’t taken because of the mistakes.
Board members heard that coronavirus death rates in north east London have started to go up with Barking and Dagenham’s case rate expected to reach 200 per 100,000 people by November 11.
Mr Cole said: “We are now seeing a slow and steady rise in deaths and we’re not in winter yet.”
He explained the three boroughs served by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust have the highest Covid-19 rate in London among the over 59s, per 100,000.
“That is the proxy for trouble. It’s that age group that tends to get hospitalised and sees most of the mortality, as per the first wave,” he said.
A total of 42 out of 60 schools recorded cases up to the week ending November 6 with 80 staff testing positive and 170 off for virus related reasons.
In total, 109 pupils had tested positive with 918 youngsters self-isolating.
A total of 183 have people died with the virus in the borough, Tuesday’s meeting heard.