Tragic Covid-19 death toll at exclusive Buckingham care home

A total of 23 residents at Gracewell of Maids Moreton died from coronavirus - the highest number for any care home in Buckinghamshire

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 4:26 pm

The tragic coronavirus death toll across Buckinghamshire care homes has been revealed by the nation’s care watchdog in newly published figures - with 23 residents at one Buckingham care home passing away.

The luxury Gracewell of Maids Moreton has had the highest number of residents die from Covid of any care home in Bucks in the year to the end of March.

The home received prestigious ‘Outstanding’ ratings by the Care Quality Commission in its last two inspections in 2017 and 2019.

Gracewell of Maids Moreton

A spokesman for Gracewell said: “Our team at Maids Moreton worked tirelessly to protect residents from the pandemic.

“Sadly the home did suffer an outbreak of the highly contagious alpha variant during the second wave in early 2021, and 21 residents passed away. This is in addition to two hospital deaths associated with Covid-19 during the first wave in spring 2020.

“The outbreak happened very rapidly, calling on the extraordinary efforts of all team members. We acted quickly in providing support and the outbreak was resolved in under two weeks, however we did lose a large number of residents in a short space of time. This remains a source of immense sadness, and since then we have been working hard at supporting everyone in dealing with their loss and re-building the community.”

“Behind each of these numbers is a life, a history, a family and a legacy – something which must be cherished. We have been in close contact with relatives throughout the pandemic, as well as working closely with all relevant health agencies throughout, and our thoughts remain with those who have lost their loved ones.

“In spite of the challenges, we could not be more proud of the way in which our team responded to this pandemic. They have stood up tall to be counted during a time of immense national need, and the home remains Outstanding rated by the CQC.

“Looking forward, and remaining vigilant, we are as best prepared as we possibly can be to continue to protect residents and team members, as we enjoy welcoming relatives back into our home.”

The Care Quality Commission said it was publishing figures on death notifications it received from named homes for the first time in a bid to be transparent, following earlier requests to share the data.

The organisation said releasing the information earlier in the pandemic could have had a “serious impact on continuity of care” but it is doing so now as risks have changed.

More than 78,500 care home residents died in England between April 10 2020 and March 31 2021, with around 7,000 care homes registering at least one death related to coronavirus.

Deaths have decreased substantially across the country as a whole as the vaccine continues to be rolled out.

In Buckinghamshire, 441 care home residents died with Covid-19 during this period. The highest number of fatalities, 218, were recorded in the three months to March 2021.

Overall, 67 individual care homes in the area reported at least one Covid-19 related death.

The data covers deaths of care home residents involving coronavirus, regardless of where the disease was contracted or where the death occurred.

The other care homes in Bucks that recorded 10 or more deaths in the year to the end of March are:

Avondale Care Home (18), Brendoncare Chiltern View (11), Catherine Court (12), Chalfont Lodge (13), Chesham Leys (15), Chiltern Grange Care Home (10), Cliveden Manor (12), Fremantle Court (13), Hampden Hall Care Centre (22), Lewin House (13), Ryeview Manor Care Home (14), Sir Aubrey Ward House (11), St Leonards Care Home (13), Sunnyside Nursing Home (12), Sunrise of Beaconsfield (16) and The Heights (18).

Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, which represents independent care homes, said the CQC figures must not be seen as an indication of quality.

He said: “It is important that the statistics are seen in context and that the entire system learns lessons from this data.

“I would like to pay tribute to all the frontline staff who have done a heroic job and it must not be forgotten that many of them lost their lives too.”

The CQC said infection control inspections were carried out throughout the pandemic and the body praised the efforts of care home staff.

Kate Terroni, CQC’s chief inspector for adult social care, called for “consideration and respect” to be shown to care home residents, their families, and staff.

She said: “We are grateful for the time that families who lost their loved ones during the pandemic have spent meeting with us and the personal experiences they have shared.

“These discussions have helped us shape our thinking around the highly sensitive issue of publishing information on the numbers of death notifications involving Covid-19 received from individual care homes.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said the government has done "all it can" to protect vulnerable people in adult social care throughout the pandemic.

“We have provided billions of pounds to support the sector, including on infection and prevention control measures, free PPE, priority vaccinations and additional testing,” she added.