UK care home death rate soars

Death rates in UK care homes are soaring. A decade ago there were an estimated 38,000 deaths in care homes a year. Last year the death rate hit more than 103,000, according to new figures uncovered by Professor Brian Jarman at Imperial College London.

The new data raises serious questions about the quality of UK residential care. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

More scrutiny

Professor Jarman, who analysed mortality rates at Mid Staffs, is clearly worried. "As we are finally getting the scrutiny we need in hospitals," he told the Mail, "deaths are being exported to care homes where they not well regulated. It really beggars belief."

The worry has deepened on analysis which claims that up to 27% of care homes in England have not submitted death rates to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the national regulator, despite a legal obligation to do so. The CQC is also now looking at data from the BBC's Panorama programme.

Neglect allegations

Last night's program focused on two elderly women who were, it was claimed, mistreated in their residential care homes. Following an inspection by the CQC of Poplars Care Home in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, the county council acknowledged that one woman, Kathleen Reid, 88, died of neglect.

The Care Quality Commission says a third of care and nursing homes in England do not meet all the necessary standards.

Not acceptable

"We are going to be absolutely clear about what is acceptable and what isn't acceptable," David Behan, the chief executive of the CQC, told Panorama. "There's too much poor care in this country and we need to ensure that that is improving, or providers cease to exist."

If you are worried about a relative or the quality of care in a home you can call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 6565, or visit www.ageuk.org.uk. You can also complain to your local authority.
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