‘All but one of Camden’s care homes see coronavirus death’: First Covid-19 oversight meeting deals with concerns about care homes and rough sleeping

The Crowndale Centre in Mornington Crescent. Picture: David Howard (Flickr, CC by SA 2.0)

The Crowndale Centre in Mornington Crescent. Picture: David Howard (Flickr, CC by SA 2.0) - Credit: Archant

All but one of Camden’s 11 care homes has seen a coronavirus-related death, it was revealed as Camden Council held their first Covid-19 Oversight Cross Party Panel on Monday night.

Councillors highlighted the need to keep care homes safe from the disease, and also raised how to help those still sleeping rough on the borough’s streets.

However councillors from across the political spectrum thanked the council’s speedy response, with Cllr Luisa Porritt (Belsize, Lib Dem) saying Camden had “gone above and beyond” other London boroughs.

Cllr Oliver Cooper (Hampstead Town, Con) pointed to government statistics that show all 11 of Camden’s care homes have seen a Covid-19 outbreaks. He said he wanted “to pay tribute to everyone involved in health and social care”, but worried “we are possibly letting down residents”.

Martin Pratt, the council’s executive director with responsibility for social care responded saying: “All but one [care home] has sadly had at least one Covid-related death but the numbers are actually relatively small in each.”

Julie Billett, director of public health for Camden and Islington said Camden’s small number of care homes in total – 11 – was a factor in the data.

Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that, by May 1, 18 deaths had been registered as caused by Covid 19 in the borough’s care homes.

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The new panel, meeting remotely and chaired by Labour backbencher Cllr Awale Olad (Holborn and Covent Garden), also heard criticism of the speed the council has paid out business support grants during the crisis.

Cllr Porritt raised the issue of rough sleepers. Although a report to the panel detailed around 200 rough sleepers in the borough were identified and 140 have been housed in hotels, Cllr Porritt queried what was being done to help the remainder “those the people with more complex needs and what are the plans to try and get them into housing”

Mr Pratt responded: I am pleased to say we acted swiftly and our street presence teams are working very closely on active outreach.”

He added: ”We have to be honest, there is still more to do and in a sense there will always be more to do because the nature of the street homeless population in a central London borough like Camden does tend to change.”

Have you been affected by coronavirus in care homes in Camden, Haringey, Barnet or Westminster? Contact Sam on the newsdesk using 07785616237 or sam.volpe@archant.co.uk