Hospitals sent thousands of elderly patients back to care homes despite testing positive for Covid

THOUSANDS of elderly patients were discharged out of hospital and into care homes despite testing positive for coronavirus, a Sun on Sunday investigation has found.

Medics slammed the figures as “utterly unconscionable” after our research suggested over 4,500 OAPs were knowingly let out with the disease.

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And 57 per cent of pensioners were not even checked before being dumped in the homes meaning the actual figure could be well over 11,000.

Just 46 of the 153 Acute Trusts (30 per cent) responded to our FOI to admit that just 10,382 of the 26,236 patients they discharged were tested.

And 1,361 were dumped among fellow OAPs despite getting a positive test between February and July.

With less than one in three releasing figures it means the total number of those dumped in care homes without tests could be around 50,000.

And over 4,500 patients could have been knowingly discharged despite testing positive – rising to over 11,000 taking into account the 43 per cent who were not tested.

SKY-HIGH CARE HOME SPIKE

Care home GP Malcolm Kendrick last night blasted our bombshell figures describing each Covid patient in a care home as having the effect of a “typhoon”.

He said: “The one thing we do know is that elderly people are much more likely to die from this disease.

"We know it is passed from person to person and it is impossible to isolate in a care home.

“At that time the R rate was nearly three, so within two to three weeks virtually everyone in that environment would have been exposed.


 

 

“That’s potentially every person in each nursing home that a Covid-positive patient was discharged into. It is utterly unconscionable.

“There are no words in the English language to describe how maddeningly incompetent and criminal this is.”

There were 33,000 excess deaths in care homes, with coronavirus mentioned on the death certificate for at least 20,000 between February and July.

Experts fear guidance to clear hospitals of non-Covid patients without testing them “seeded” the virus in care homes and caused our sky-high death rate.

There are no words to describe how maddeningly incompetent and criminal this is.

Doctors say this policy saw Britain join countries with similar policies such as Italy, France and Sweden as having the worst excess deaths in Europe.

But incredibly care homes are being asked to take elderly hospital patients infected with coronavirus again this winter in so-called “hot” homes as the second wave hits.

Dr Kendrick said: “Everyone knows it is impossible to isolate patients within care home.”

“You could probably quadruple your figures. Those responsible should be held to account. If I did something like this in my job I would be struck off, and rightly so.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Our absolute priority has always been to prevent infections in care homes while ensuring that everyone receives the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“All patients must be tested before they are discharged from hospital and into a care home, and isolated for 14 days if the test is positive.

“£1.3bn has been made available, via the NHS, to support this hospital discharge process and in July, as part of the £3 billion new funding announced for winter, an extra £588 million funding was confirmed to continue enhanced discharge arrangements over winter.

“Care homes have also been provided with free PPE, and we have ring-fenced over £1.1billion to support providers through our Infection Control Fund.”

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