Men working in social care in England and Wales are 2.5 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than working-age men as a whole, the Office for National Statistics has found.
The ONS analysis, which also shows women in social care with a mortality rate twice that of working age women generally, will increase pressure on the government over the heavy death toll suffered by care homes.
- Men and women working in social care, a group including care workers and home carers, both had significantly raised rates of death involving COVID-19, with rates of 50.1 deaths per 100,000 men (97 deaths) and 19.1 deaths per 100,000 women (171 deaths).
- Among health care professions as a whole, including those with jobs such as doctors and nurses, only men had higher rates of death involving COVID-19 (30.4 deaths per 100,000 men or 130 deaths) when compared with the rate among those whose death involved COVID-19 of the same age and sex in the general population; of the specific health care professions, nurses had elevated rates among both sexes (50.4 deaths per 100,000 men or 31 deaths; 15.3 deaths per 100,000 women or 70 deaths).
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These truly shocking statistics are another tragic reminder about the essential need for our vital social care workforce to be fully protected and equipped to look after themselves, as well as all the people of all ages they are supporting, and helping to keep safe and well.
“People working in social care, including care workers, are on the frontline against this deadly disease and continue to put themselves at risk in order to care for those who need their help and support.
“All those working in social care have to receive everything they need, including reliable and consistent supplies of quality PPE, to protect them and the people they care for from this terrible pandemic.”
Suzie Bailey, director of leadership and organisational development at health thinktank the King’s Fund, said: “Hard-working care staff have been on the frontline in this crisis, but have been let down by government promises of support that have not been delivered. It is increasingly clear that social care has been neglected during the pandemic, with disastrous consequences.
“Lessons must be learned. The virus still poses a very real threat and care workers need to be prioritised and protected. Social care must never again be treated as an afterthought to the NHS, but as an equal partner in an interdependent system.”