Covid-19 is taking a 'grim toll' on care home residents: The King's Fund responds to ONS figures on deaths within the care sector in England and Wales

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Responding to new ONS figures on deaths within the care sector in England and Wales, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:

‘The data indicates the grim toll the pandemic has taken on people living in care homes, revealing a 46 per cent increase in the total number of deaths among care home residents in England and Wales compared to the same period last year.

‘While we can’t yet fully understand all the factors at play, this is yet another worrying finding that should keep our attention firmly on the crisis in our care homes. Although there is no comparable data, we must also understand what is happening with the people who are in need of social care support in their own homes.

‘We also know that the virus has exposed weaknesses in a social care system that has been underfunded and overlooked for too long. Before the pandemic, care providers were struggling to recruit staff and many people’s needs were already going unmet.

‘Care home and domiciliary care providers urgently need access to testing and PPE for staff, and funding to cover the increased costs that threaten some of their futures. Beyond this, it is essential to get on with long-delayed reform and for the Prime Minister to come good on his promise to fix social care “once and for all”.’

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 07584 146035 or

  • The ONS data is available to download
  • From 28 December 2019 to 1 May 2020 there were 73,180 deaths among care home residents, 23,136 (46 per cent) higher than the same period last year. 12,516 deaths mentioned Covid-19. The ONS is planning to look into the excess of non-Covid-19 deaths and intends to publish more on this soon.

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.