FIGURES are set to be released on Covid-19-related mortality figures in care homes in England.

Since the beginning of this year, the Care Quality Commission says 20 people died in care homes run by Wessex Care in Salisbury.

The Journal has seen figures for one care provider in the city, but the overall figures, which will be published tomorrow, are likely to be much higher.

There is some dispute around the CQC's figures, with the Wiltshire Care Partnership saying that some homes believe the information published by CQC about them to be "inaccurate" and "are seeking to clarify how the numbers were established."

The CQC - the independent regulator of all health and social care services - says 20 people died across all six of Wessex Care's homes, including nine at Milford Manor, and 11 at Kimberly East and West.

This is part one of a series of articles on this issue.

Salisbury Journal: Kimberly EastKimberly East

Talking to the Journal, Wessex Care said it wants to break these figures down "to be open about what happened in our service and how we worked to fight this virus".

It added: "Every life lost was a personal tragedy for us, and the families and friends left behind.

"The Wessex Care family wish to acknowledge that this data represents lives lost in the worst worldwide pandemic since Spanish Flu in 1918.

"We understand that the publication of this data will bring feelings of loss again to the fore for those who have lost a loved one, and so our thoughts are with all the families and friends who have lost someone."

Kimberly West and East

Salisbury Journal: Wessex Care

The CQC has presented Kimberly West and East as one mortality figure of 11.

Wessex Care say that in March 2020 four residents at Kimberly West "with significant comorbidities" died in hospital with COVID 19 "as a suspected contributing factor".

They added that at this time testing outside of hospital was not available and so it was unable to pinpoint with any certainty the source of the infection.

The company's normal Infection Prevention and Control measures contained the spread and protected the other 23 residents.

Salisbury Journal: Jodie Scott, one of the directors at Wessex Care, is dressed in full PPE outside a ‘Red level’ area designated in one of the care centres where COVID19 patients were being cared for. Jodie Scott, one of the directors at Wessex Care, is dressed in full PPE outside a ‘Red level’ area designated in one of the care centres where COVID19 patients were being cared for.

Between April and June 2020 Kimberly East was segregated and isolated to run as a Hospital Discharge Support COVID+ Unit, providing a dedicated service for people either recovering from Covid19, or who were not expected to recover.

During this time three more people who had been discharged from hospital into this service died.

In late January 2021, Kimberly East, where 27 residents live, was visited by a professional who the company were subsequently told tested positive for Covid19.

Following this, 10 of residents also tested positive and four died. The remaining six people recovered.

Milford Manor

Salisbury Journal: Milford Manor Care Home (Wessex Care)

In February of this year Milford Manor, the specialist complex dementia and mental health service, recorded positive test results within the home.

The Journal reported at the time 'a number of people had died'.

Wessex Care said: "The people living in Milford Manor can find it difficult to understand the need to self-isolate, and sometimes be unwilling to do so, and this contributed to 22 of our 28 residents eventually testing positive. 13 recovered, but sadly 9 residents succumbed to the virus and passed away".

"The eventual establishment of routine testing clearly indicated that some of our residents contracted COVID 19 before any member of staff tested positive, indicating that Wessex Care staff were not the source of the infection. Visits to the homes at this time were limited to professionals who needed to enter the home."

Salisbury Journal: Wessex Care

Hospital Discharge Unit

Wessex Care added that following the early outbreak in March 2020, all of its Care Centres remained free from COVID 19 until late January 2021, except for its Hospital Discharge Support Unit, based, during the initial peak in 2020 at Kimberly East, then subsequently at Little Manor.

This service was commissioned by the NHS and Wiltshire Council in support of the hospitals to provide COVID 19 patients with post-acute recovery or end of life care.

A statement said: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank the brave Wessex Care staff who volunteered to work in this very special unit and supported 63 patients during two periods of peak pandemic spikes. They nursed 46 to recover and supported 17 with intensive end of life care and also helped to protect other care homes in Wiltshire by providing a dedicated Covid positive unit."

It added: "Our work does not stop, it does not pause and the pandemic is still with us, so we all, residential and community teams, continue to serve the public of South Wiltshire and Salisbury every day and every night."

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