UK Government accused of human rights abuse over 18,000 COVID deaths in British aged care homes – failure to transfer residents to hospital a violation of their right to life

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A reminder that Boris Johnson’s pledge to fix residential care funding has come too late for many.

Amnesty International has called for the UK Government’s promised enquiry into its aged care sector’s COVID outbreaks – promised back in July – to begin immediately after it published a report that concluded the 18,000 residents who died had their human rights violated.

The human rights organisation found over 28,116 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded in English aged care homes between March and June this year, with 18,500 as a result of COVID and many “entirely avoidable”.

In particular, the report – titled ‘As If Expendable: The UK Government’s Failure to Protect Older People in Care Homes during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ – raised concerns about the inappropriate use of ‘Do Not Attempt Resuscitation’ (DNAR) orders issued on a blanket basis in aged care homes – which have yet to have been revised.

Blanket orders given for residents to not be resuscitated

Residents were also found to have been denied access to health services they were entitled to, with sending residents to hospitals discouraged or refused according to the report – “violating their right to health and potentially their right to life, as well as their right to non-discrimination.”

Records show there were 11,800 fewer hospital admissions for aged care residents in March and April compared to previous years.

Official figures showed admissions to hospital for care home residents decreased substantially during the pandemic, with 11,800 fewer admissions during March and April compared to previous years.

As we have previously reported, there were also cases of GPs refusing to enter homes and only being available via phone or video call, even for residents who were close to death.

“It is imperative that lessons are learned so that the same mistakes are not repeated, and that those responsible for such disastrous decisions are held accountable,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Adviser and author of the report, told Business Insider.


About Author

Lauren is the Editor at DCM Group and has guided its range of media including The Weekly SOURCE, The Daily RESOURCE and The Donaldson Sisters since 2016. With 13 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and commentator, Lauren is the only journalist to have attended every session of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, producing 300 issues of the subscriber-only The Daily COMMISSION which offers exclusive insights and analysis of the issues surrounding the Royal Commission and the aged care sector.