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Data on Covid care home deaths kept secret 'to protect commercial interests'

PUBLISHED

COVID-19 death tolls at individual care homes are being kept secret by regulators in part to protect providers’ commercial interests before a possible second coronavirus surge, the Guardian can reveal.

England’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Care Inspectorate in Scotland are refusing to make public which homes or providers recorded the most fatalities amid fears it could undermine the UK’s care system, which relies on private operators.

In response to freedom of information requests, the regulators said they were worried that the supply of beds and standards of care could be threatened if customers left badly affected operators. The CQC and Care Inspectorate share home-by-home data with their respective governments – but both refused to make it public.

Residents’ families attacked the policy, with one bereaved daughter describing it as “ridiculous” and another relative saying deaths data could indicate a home’s preparedness for future outbreaks.

“Commercial interest when people’s lives are at stake shouldn’t even be a factor,” said Shirin Koohyar, who lost her father in April after he tested positive for Covid at a west London care home. “The patient is the important one here, not the corporation.”

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Source: The Guardian, 27 August 2020

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