Deaths in mental health hospitals and learning disability units have doubled compared with last year – with 54 of these deaths from confirmed or suspected coronavirus infections.
The Care Quality Commission regulator said 106 deaths were recorded between 1 March and 1 May, compared with 51 over the same period in 2019. They have now been warned by the care watchdog that they must take action to protect vulnerable patients.
The figures were published as NHS England separately refused to make public the weekly data it receives from hospitals and learning disability units about the deaths of patients with learning disabilities. It said the data would be published in 2021, sparking outrage from charities and politicians.
Deborah Coles, from the charity Inquest, told The Independent: “The refusal to publish the data points to the historical longstanding failure to provide detailed information about deaths of people in the care of the state in mental health and learning disability settings.
Labour’s shadow care minister Liz Kendall said: “This is extremely worrying and shows Covid-19 has now reached mental health units. Families and the wider public deserve to know what is happening, and why.
Harriet Harman MP, chair of parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, has also written to health secretary Matt Hancock demanding the government publish data on the deaths of people with learning disabilities and autism.
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