SHOCKING new figures reveal the number of people who died in home care during the first 12 months of the Covid pandemic in Cheshire West and Chester more than doubled – but Covid was the cause in only a small number of those who died.

Figures uncovered by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) revealed the number of people in home care who have died during the Covid pandemic.

The numbers have shown, generally across the UK, that a much higher number of people sadly passed away in home care from April 2020 to March 2021, compared with a pre-Covid 12-month period.

The figures were obtained from the Care Quality Commission and were more pronounced in the Cheshire West and Chester area.

It showed 132 residents receiving home care died from April 2020-March 2021, compared with 65 from January-December 2019 – more than double the number of deaths pre-Covid.

And of the 132, only 15 (11.4 per cent) were attributed as Covid deaths.

Fazilet Hadi, of the charity Disability Rights UK, said: “The dramatic increase in deaths of people receiving domiciliary care during the pandemic appears to be truly shocking. It is very important that the figures are further analysed.”

The findings have prompted Cheshire West and Chester Council to investigate how this happened and what action can be taken.

Ian Ashworth, director of public health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Covid-19 has had a massive impact on our society – an impact, which we are still trying to understand the true extent of.

“The figures presented for the increase in the number of deaths amongst people receiving home care during the coronavirus pandemic both nationally and in Cheshire West and Chester call for further examination into the causal factors behind the figures.

“The council and its partners have taken steps to provide support and advice throughout the pandemic to ensure home care services are delivered in line with national guidance on Covid-19 safety.

“With the majority of these deaths being attributed to non-Covid-19 causes it is clear that more work now needs to be done to identify, if there are any, direct and indirect links to the pandemic.

“These figures highlight the importance of access to complete and consistent data sets related to home care so that underlying trends can be effectively analysed, and appropriate action taken where needed.

“Clearly there needs to be further investigation into all deaths to understand the causes, identify any underlying patterns and to determine what action should be taken and we will work with our partners to establish this.”