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Coronavirus in Welsh care homes – the disaster that didn’t have to happen

By any measure the situation in Welsh care homes during the coronavirus crisis has been a disaster.

Up until June 19, a total of 717 of the most vulnerable people in our society had died with the virus after it got inside our care homes.

You may think that these deaths were inevitable during a pandemic. But across the world other countries have demonstrated that it didn’t have to be this way.

Political decisions – or the lack of them – resulted in the virus being able to infiltrate our care homes. These are places which were identified as the most at risk before coronavirus even arrived on our shores.

Our research has shown that medical leaders and politicians did nothing to stop patients from hospitals being discharged into care homes without a test – even when the risk that people showing no symptoms could pose was being discussed.

As early as March 31, papers were being circulated on the UK’s core scientific advisory body Sage expressly recognising the contribution that asymptomatic people posed to the spread of coronavirus within hospitals.

Yet it was not until April 29 in Wales that people being sent from hospitals into care homes started to be routinely tested – two weeks after England. In that time, 1,097 patients potentially carrying the deadly virus were discharged into the most vulnerable of communities without a test.

Will Hayward investigates…

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