Last reviewed 17 August 2021

For the first time the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a breakdown of the numbers of people who died with Covid-19 for each care home in England, revealing how the virus spread across the country.

The CQC data are based on notifications that care home managers are required to submit to the regulator when one of their residents dies, and on information required from 10 April 2020 indicating whether Covid-19 was believed to be a factor in the person's death. Figures also include the deaths of residents outside care homes, such as in hospitals.

CQC Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care Kate Terroni said: “Every number represents a life lost.” She added that the CQC only published the data “once we felt able to do so as accurately and safely as possible", given its complexity and sensitivity.

She said as the data are published, the CQC asks for “consideration and respect to be shown to people living in care homes, to families who have been affected and to the staff who have done everything they could, in incredibly difficult circumstances, to look after those in their care”.

CQC figures show that more than 39,000 care home residents died with Covid-19 between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, with the highest number of deaths in a single care home at 44, and 21 care homes with more than 30 Covid-related deaths. Almost half of the deaths, at 18,261, occurred between April and June 2020. The other peak was seen between January and March 2021.

Care homes in the North West had the most Covid-related deaths in the first wave of the pandemic, while those in the South East were hardest hit in the second.

The regulator said it has not found a link between standards of care in a home and the number of deaths, adding that many factors are involved including the levels of Covid-19 in the local community, and the age and health of the residents.

The CQC conducted 5577 inspections of adult care providers between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. It found that complaints, whistle-blowers and the absence of a registered manager were more likely to indicate poor care than death notifications.

Care England Chief Executive Professor Martin Green expressed deepest sympathies to the relatives of all care home residents and staff who have died of Covid-19. He said care homes had been “right at the frontline of this dreadful pandemic" and added: “It would be hugely disrespectful if lessons were not learned at every level.”

The CQC’s Covid-19 Insight: Issue 12 containing the report on the care home deaths is available here.