At least 4,000 people have died of coronavirus in care homes, according to an industry body.
Figures from the National Care Forum, which represents not-for-profit social care providers, show 4,040 people in residential and nursing homes may have died up to 13 April.
It added that the total death toll of residents is likely to be over 7,300—once those who were moved to hospital are included.
The scale of the crisis in social care remains a guessing game because of the Tories’ refusal to collect and publicise accurate information about Covid-19 deaths outside hospitals.
The Office for National Statistics had recorded 1,043 deaths in care homes, as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.
But the real figure will be much higher.
The situation is leaving workers and service users across social care fearing for their future.
Katie works for a charity providing supported-living accommodation in Glasgow. “There’s an air of anxiety among the staff and the supported people,” she told Socialist Worker.
“We don’t really know what’s going on and what’s going to happen.”
Katie said that workers had only been given personal protective equipment (PPE) to use with one resident who was deemed high-risk.
And she says there is a lack of guidance in how to deal with the crisis in the facility.
“We’re getting emails from the company that are a bit patronising,” Katie explained.
“It’s saying we’re doing a really good job and it’s proud of us, but we’re not being given any information about what kind of equipment to use.”
It’s not just adults in social care who are suffering.
One healthcare worker in London told Socialist Worker that vulnerable children were being “overlooked” and that it’s likely “care services will start to break down”.
She said that care workers don’t have access to the necessary PPE, and, as a result, families are too scared to let them into their homes to provide care.
“Families aren’t letting them in the door because they’re worried about the PPE and don’t want to bring in infection,” she said.
“Carers will become sick or not want to enter homes to protect their own families.”
For children with chronic health conditions, it’s a very scary situation.
Workers are trying to discharge very ill children from hospitals into hospices to minimise the risk of them contracting Covid-19.
But PPE stocks were so low that hospice workers relied on volunteers to sew them medical scrub-like uniforms as a replacement.
The treatment of adults and children within social care services is a national scandal. The services should be properly funded, publicly-run and workers kept safe to provide the care people need.