Latest Government replies to parliamentary questions about Covid deaths in care homes; about treatment of older people; about testing of vaccines; about the remarks of the National Statistician that the epidemic and R factor have been driven by the failure to protect care homes; that care homes have felt “completely abandoned”; and their response to the UN Independent Expert about the protection of older people

May 28, 2020 | Uncategorized

Coronavirus

Latest Government replies to parliamentary questions about Covid deaths in care homes; about treatment of older people; about testing of vaccines; about the remarks of the National Statistician that the epidemic and R factor have been driven by the failure to protect care homes; that care homes have felt “completely abandoned”; and their response to the UN Independent Expert about the protection of older people

Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4623):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the laboratories involved in the development of COVID-19 vaccines are evaluating the (1) use, and (2) potential effects, of those vaccines in trials with (a) older people, and (b) people with disabilities. (HL4623)

Tabled on: 18 May 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Vaccine development involves evaluating the quality, safety and efficacy in a series of carefully planned clinical trials. The Government is backing two promising United Kingdom COVID-19 vaccine candidates at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. Vaccine development is in the early stages but progressing rapidly. During clinical trials, both Oxford and Imperial plan to evaluate the safety and efficacy of their vaccines in older people. While there are no plans to specifically recruit those with disabilities, in both cases those with disabilities are eligible and welcome to take part in clinical trials subject to specific exclusion criteria which apply to all volunteers to ensure the safety of participants.

Date and time of answer: 28 May 2020 at 12:50.

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Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the remarks by the National Statistician that the R rate of COVID-19 infections “is driven by the epidemic in care homes; and (2) reports by Care England that the levels of COVID-19 infections among hospital and care home staff may be five times higher than those in the wider population; and what steps they are taking in response. (HL4326)

Tabled on: 12 May 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Individual modelling groups use a range of data to estimate R including epidemiological data such as hospital admissions, intensive care unit admissions and deaths. R is an average value that can vary in different parts of the country, communities, and subsections of the population. It cannot be measured directly so there is always some uncertainty around its exact value.

We know that care providers across the country have been doing their utmost to keep those they look after safe and well in the most challenging circumstances. On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

The Government has also made £3.2 billion available to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, and £1.3 billion of additional funding to enhance the National Health Service discharge process, getting patients who no longer need urgent treatment home from hospitals safely and quickly.

Date and time of answer: 28 May 2020 at 12:46.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4625):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the comments by the National Care Association that care homes have felt “completely abandoned” during the COVID-19 pandemic and that prioritising the NHS without adequately protecting elderly people in care may have been “wrong”. (HL4625)

Tabled on: 18 May 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

The safety of residents and staff is always a priority. We have provided extensive support and guidance to care homes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are working closely with local authorities, the care sector and NHS England to ensure everyone has access to the right care, in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

We are determined to give both the care sector and the National Health Service everything they need to respond to this pandemic. On 15 May 2020 we published a care home support package which outlines the next phase of our response for care homes, using the latest scientific evidence and drawing on the insights of care providers. To support this, on 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support care home providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to review our guidance and national support in line with the latest scientific advice and engage with stakeholders to ensure we address the majority of their concerns.

Date and time of answer: 28 May 2020 at 12:46.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4069):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Reuters Special Report In shielding its hospitals from COVID-19, Britain left many of the weakest exposed, published on 5 May. [T] (HL4069)

Tabled on: 06 May 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Social care has been at the frontline of our response to COVID-19, with social care providers looking after many of the most vulnerable in society. The Government’s number one priority for adult social care is to ensure that everyone who relies on care gets the care and support they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million for an Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care. This funding is to support adult social care providers in England reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and to support workforce resilience. Furthermore, on 15 May, the Government published a Care Home Support Plan in an online only format on GOV.UK. This is the next phase of our response for care homes, using the latest domestic and international evidence brought together by Public Health England, and drawing on the insights of care providers.

Date and time of answer: 28 May 2020 at 12:42.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3676):

 

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken in response to the concerns raised by the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons on 27 March about the protection of older people who are at the highest risk of COVID-19; and what consideration they have given to her recommendation to develop triage protocols to “ensure that decisions on whether to allocate medical resource are made on the basis of medical needs, the best scientific evidence available and not on non-medical criteria such as age or disability”, and to “ensure that essential support services at home in the communities can continue without putting older persons and their care providers at risk”. (HL3676)

Tabled on: 29 April 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

On 7 April 2020, NHS England published a letter outlining the importance of maintaining standards and quality of care in pressurised circumstances. This letter emphasised the NHS Constitution which is based on the principle of equity of access for those who could benefit from treatment escalation.

The evidence is clear that people who are over the age of 70 are at increased clinical risk of having severe cases of COVID-19. The Government recognises that social distancing and self-isolation are likely to increase the risk of loneliness and mental health issues for everyone, but particularly for vulnerable groups including those with pre-existing conditions and those shielding. The Government has provided guidance to support people both medically and socially, who on the basis of their condition and not their age, are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. This is available in an online only format on GOV.UK. Furthermore, on 22 April the Government launched a new major plan to tackle loneliness which include a £5 million boost for national loneliness organisations.

It is important that people continue to receive support services in the community. The Government has made £3.2 billion available to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, and £1.3 billion of additional funding to enhance the National Health Service discharge process, getting patients who no longer need urgent treatment home from hospitals safely and quickly.

Date and time of answer: 28 May 2020 at 12:40.

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