(We don't) care homes
Written by Katie Stanton, Senior Associate
Edited by Laura Hamilton, Managing Partner
So much has been said about care homes, I was reticent to add to the mix. But, as much as I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to think of anything funny or light-hearted this morning. So, here is my experience of what I see as a catastrophic failure in protecting our most vulnerable.
Before the crisis, we had two family members living together in a care home. Now we have one.
The death of my grandfather a few weeks ago was not a result of the Covid-19 virus itself, or even the measures to contain it, although I think they certainly oversaw the deterioration of his health.
Policies designed to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with Covid-19, which aimed to clear out “non-acute” patients and free up space that was never needed, ultimately pushed residents back into care homes before they were ready, without the appropriate care plans in place for the long-term.
In many cases this caused the spread of coronavirus from hospital to care home, to disastrous effect. More than 11,600 people have died from coronavirus in care homes across the UK since the start of the pandemic and, overall, care home deaths account for over a quarter of the virus fatalities. This figure is likely higher, as testing has been lacklustre.
But, crucially, this number doesn’t include those who have died in care homes without coronavirus. At the peak of the pandemic there were around three times as many deaths in care homes as would have been expected in normal circumstances – and only around half of the extra deaths were attributed to Covid-19.
So those with dementia who deteriorated while confined, those shipped back from surgery before they were ready, those who haven’t been able to access care for conditions like heart disease and strokes; they just died.
And then their families gathered in packs of 10 for a socially distanced, alien goodbye.
Now the care home my grandfather lived in actually does have an outbreak of coronavirus. Now my grandmother – a stoic, lively sufferer of quite severe dementia – is not only under threat of infection but, perhaps worse, confined to her room, confused and alone. Idle body, idle mind.
In a blinkered focus on only the acute sector and urgent hospital treatment, we have disregarded the most vulnerable in our society, both in their susceptibility to the virus itself and, crucially, in their access to regular healthcare – not to mention the safety of those who care for them.
I have no sunny ending to this piece, only the hope that we learn quickly that our senior citizens are just that. Citizens. With the same right to a dignified and valued life that we have.
Ministers are facing further pressure from council leaders and teaching unions to reconsider plans to reopen English primary schools to some pupils from 1 June. At least 11 councils have expressed concern or warned that they will not be ready in time.
The Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore, who raised almost £33m for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, is to be knighted.
The World Bank has warned that 60 million people may fall into extreme poverty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, erasing three years of progress globally.
Sweden has seen the highest number of deaths per capita from the Covid-19 disease over the last seven days, according to data, overtaking the UK, Italy and Belgium. The country has opted to forgo lockdown during the pandemic, keeping most schools, businesses and restaurants open.
Business and economy
Companies that take out new government-backed loans will be banned from paying cash bonuses or dividends to ensure that executives and shareholders do not benefit at the taxpayers’ expense.
The founder of Matalan, John Hargreaves, is suing PwC over claims the ‘Big Four’ accounting firm gave him bad advice on how to avoid paying taxes when he moved from England to Monaco. (£)
According to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce, more than half of UK firms are not yet ready to reopen their doors fully, with 10% saying they cannot restart at all within guidelines. The survey also found that 85% of UK firms have received money from the job retention scheme.
Columns of note
Joel Golby writes of hypocrisy in theGuardianthis morning. With Prince Charles urging the public to pick fruit for Blighty, he argues, the problem isn’t so much the message as the messenger.
Writing in today’sTimes,Roger Boyes argues that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS for short), cannot be both a reformer and a warlord. With depleted oil revenues, a disruptive virus and a global recession, MBS faces a tough decision. Will he continue with his ruinous war in Yemen? Or will he abandon his dream of a megacity on the Red Sea? (£)
Source: New Yorker
What happened yesterday?
London’s benchmark index closed 0.69% lower yesterday as traders booked profits from huge gains on Monday. The FTSE 250 however did manage to end in positive territory, up 0.53%. In particular, oil was higher as optimism brewed in relation to demand, propping up energy stocks.
In company news:
EasyJet announced yesterday that it has been targeted in a cyber-attack, with the email addresses and travel details of around nine million customers breached. Its investigation found that around 2,200 customers had also had their credit card details stolen.
The world’s biggest retailer Walmart said yesterday that “unprecedented demand” for essential products during the pandemic had cause its sales to spike, forcing it to take on 235,000 workers in the US to cope with the surge.
Sony has launched a $3.7bn offer to buy out shareholders in its financial services arm, taking advantage of a coronavirus-depressed market to capture a unit that generates a large slice of its profits.
Compass launched a £2bn equity raising yesterday morning – the biggest of the coronavirus crisis – to bolster its balance sheet. The catering group said that the fundraising, which includes a retail offer for small investors, would lift its total liquidity from £3bn to £5bn and secure its short-term position.
Imperial Brands has cut its dividend by a third to strengthen its balance sheet and forecast continued pressure on its duty-free business in the second half of the year.
What's happening today?
Finals Bloomsbury Pub.
Marks and Spencer
Wincanton Interims Compass Group
Ixico AGMs 888 Hldgs Acc. Int. Antofagasta Biopharma Cred. Bmo Priv. Ord Cairn Cap. Cello Health Chaarat Gold
Funding Circle Judges Scientfc Medica Group P. Nucleus Financ. Pharos Energy Playtech Tyman Vistry Grp Vivo Energy UK Economic Announcements (07:00) Producer Price Index
(07:00) Retail Price Index
(07:00) Consumer Price Index)
(11:00) CBI Industrial Trends Surveys
Int. Economic Announcements (07:00) GFK Consumer Confidence (GER)
(09:00) Consumer Price Index (EU)
(09:00) Current Account (EU)
(12:45) ECB Interest Rate (EU)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times
Did you know?
During the summer of 1790, George Washington spent the equivalent of £5,600 on ice cream.
House of Commons
Prime minister’s question time
Trade Bill: Second Reading
Relating to the membership of the Liaison Committee - Jacob Rees-Mogg
House of Lords
Response of international institutions to the impact of COVID-19 on refugee camps - virtual proceeding - Lord Collins of Highbury
Amount of inheritance tax paid, the measures being taken to avoid paying any such tax; and what plans the government have to ensure inheritance tax is paid promptly - virtual proceeding - Lord Palmer of Childs Hill
Discussions with the government of Ireland about the development of a co-ordinated all-island approach for lifting COVID-19 related restrictions - virtual proceeding - Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick
Permitting the resumption of routine dental care - virtual proceeding - Lord Farmer
Orders and regulations
Draft Weights and Measures Act 1985 (Definitions of “Metre” and “Kilogram”) (Amendment) Order 2020 - virtual proceeding - Lord Callanan
Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill - Committee stage - virtual proceeding - Lord Keen of Elie
First minister’s questions
Stage three proceedings
Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill