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03 June 2020
Care home deaths involving COVID-19 overtake deaths in hospital

Image credit: Utrecht Robin/ABACAPRESS.COM/ABACA/PA Images

Care home deaths involving COVID-19 overtake deaths in hospital

Care homes have now overtaken hospitals in the number of deaths involving coronavirus in Scotland, new National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures reveal.

The NRS statistics, which are published weekly, showed as of 31 May there had been 3,911 deaths registered in Scotland where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The figures showed that overall there had been three more deaths involving the virus in care homes than in hospitals since the beginning of the pandemic – 1,818 deaths in care homes and 1,815 in hospitals.

This brings the total portion of deaths in care homes to 46 per cent of all registered deaths involving COVID-19, with another 46 per cent of deaths in hospitals and seven per cent at home or in non-institutional settings.

Overall, the NRS data showed deaths involving COVID-19 as a proportion of all deaths had fallen for the fifth week in a row, to 12 per cent, after reaching 36 per cent five weeks earlier.

The report revealed more than half – 52 per cent – of all registered deaths involving COVID-19 from 25 to 31 May occurred in care homes, a decrease in 56 deaths from the previous week, from 124 to 68.

Three quarters of registered deaths involving COVID-19 to 31 May were people aged 75 or over.

On the same day as the statistics were released, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament she had “huge sympathy” about proposals for a national care service in Scotland.

“It’s an example of how we need to be prepared to rethink old ways of doing things and contemplate potentially new and potentially better ways of doing things,” she said, during First Minister’s Questions.

“I hope that we may see some cross-party willingness to look at the idea of a national care service.

“There are huge complexities and challenges associated with that, and none of us should underplay that, but there will be a whole range of ways in which we want to rethink how we have done things in the past.”

Sturgeon also told the parliament that the number of deaths in care homes were “declining slightly faster than deaths in hospital, which says the measures we are taking in care homes are having an effect, and we need to keep focused on making sure we do the right things”.

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