WILTSHIRE Council issued a statement in response to the publication of figures today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into care home deaths related to COVID.

Joining with the Wiltshire Care Partnership, the council has said "we must not lose sight of the fact each figure represents a loss of a loved one for a family and friends".

Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health for Wiltshire, added: "Our thoughts are with the people who are having to live with that loss every day".

Wessex Care, which runs six residential care centres in Salisbury, released its figures to the Journal earlier this week.

The figures have been released dating from April 10 2020 to March 31 2021, and cover those who sadly died while in the care home setting, but also those who were in hospital or at another setting, for example a Designated Setting.

Since mid-April, the council has worked in partnership with the CCG, Wiltshire Care Partnership (WCP), Public Health England and CQC to review risks and support needed by all local care homes.

The council provided funding for infection control and a Care Home Advisory Group was established across health, social care and WCP.

A COVID-19 provider team was set up with a dedicated helpline and email address, and was operating six days per week supporting care providers.

The team kept in regular contact with providers, organising the delivery of PPE where needed, providing easy to read guidance, organising regular webinars to share good practice, and problem solving, as well as a one-stop shop for advice and guidance on infection prevention and control.

The data does not in any way suggest that care homes or their staff acted inappropriately or failed to follow the guidance. Rather, an unknown and deadly virus has spread throughout communities, including care homes, and the most vulnerable have been the largest group impacted.

'Care providers have worked hard to maintain dignity'

Kate Blackburn added: "Care providers in Wiltshire have worked hard to maintain dignity and respect for residents and to cope with immense pressure, and I would like to recognise their hard work and dedication.

"We will continue to work closely with and support our care providers as they maintain their dedication to their residents during these challenging times.”

Councillor Jane Davies, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Our thoughts are with those families who have lost loved ones. We have worked together with care providers and our health colleagues providing support and advice.

"We are regularly sharing good practice and guidance so we can ensure our residents have the very best support.”

To read the statement from the Wiltshire Care Partnership, click here.

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