CQC death data from care homes – ARC England briefing notes

ARC England have produced the following briefing to support members around CQC’s publication of deaths data from care homes, however from conversations with members, it is not anticipated that this will be a significant concern.


CQC have indicated that they will release the details around the individual deaths within care homes across the Adult Social Care sector in England. The estimated date of publication is 21st July 2021 and the release will contain the historic data from a time period of 10th April 2020 to 31st March 2021 (although this may be shared as a series of smaller releases).

The data publication will utilise ONS information which, on its own will not provide sufficient context, therefore ARC England have been working with CQC with the aim of to shaping the communication for a positive response.

All providers’ registered managers and responsible individuals will receive letters regarding their data by the close of business 9th July.

Scotland published their death data on 19th April 2021; feedback from this Scottish Care context statement was published and found to be extremely useful.


Facts from the publicly available ONS data

  • From the beginning of the pandemic until 6thNovember 2020, 15,659 people died in care homes and their deaths were linked in the death register to COVID-19.
  • An estimate of the deaths of care home residents (including those who died in hospital) suggests that, until 13th November 202, 20,799 care home residents died whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19.
  • An estimate of excess deaths in care homes suggests that 22,948 more people died until 30th October, compared to the previous five This would represent around 5% of all care home residents.

What we know so far about the publication of the data

1. What will be published?

This publication of data will be based on the CQC death notifications providers made during this timeframe. We understand this will include deaths with ‘suspected’ and ‘confirmed’ cases of COVID-19.

This will be different to data reports from the ONS data which is based on death certification. It also differs from the deaths reported by the government and PHE within 28 days of having a test.

However, this means the data will cover all deaths of care home residents (no staff death data will be published) related to COVID, regardless of where the death occurred (i.e. hospitals).

Data accuracy – this is historic and based upon the data accuracy of the provider information; providers can update and provide additional specific detail in their letters, for example place of death (could be in hospital) under Reg 16.

2. How will we know what will be said about our organisation?

We have been advised that providers will be notified at an individual organisation level and registered managers at the care home location.

CQC will share with trade associations and providers a briefing communication two-three weeks ahead of final publication which will include a Question and Answers fact sheet. As soon as we have this we will circulate to members.

There will be no proactive media activity around this publication but we anticipate there will be national media interest.

3. How interested are the press?

There are a number of journalists seeking this data and Freedom of Information requests have been made to the CQC hence the decision to publish – as based on public interests.

4. What we have been asking for as context to support the publication

A strong narrative that will show the wider context of the pandemic at the time.

This type of publication does not tell the story of the amazing professionalism, sacrifice and dedication of frontline nursing and care staff who daily put themselves at risk to save lives in the face of this deadly global pandemic.

Deaths linked specifically to ‘wave one’ were well before any central government system changes; little was understood about virus symptoms, methods of transmission, there was no testing capacity, limited PPE and no financial support.

The social care action plan was not introduced until mid-April, almost a full month after the Prime Minister announced the country would go into lockdown.

We must consider the data sets around those residents that died in hospital or a short period of time post-discharge. It is understood these will not be separated from the provider data.

There have also been increased deaths among people receiving care at home, people who work in social care provision, as well as people with learning disabilities and dementia.

These numbers do not indicate any issue of safety of services or indication of providers’ competency.

We ask the public and press to reach out with compassion and support our sector, particularly care homes, staff, residents and families affected.

5. Where will this data land in relation to other statistical sources?

These are the overall deaths and only specifically care home resident deaths in that region/community, therefore they are not as statistically accurate as those of GP death certificate notified deaths and PHE data.

6. How can we explain the deaths to relatives if they were suspected Covid?

You will have a record of what date PCR and LFD testing started in your service –  this a critical factor – along with the genomic evidence of the strain that was in the care home. You may find it useful to have a chronological record of events.

We also suggest the type of home is highly relevant, for example the size of the service and the type of person being looked after (i.e. a learning disabilities and autism services having an outbreak vs. an older persons’ designated setting).

7. What granularity/location level information will be shared?

This could be quarterly and the registered managers’ communication will go to the individual care home registered manager.

8. Will some providers be more exposed than others?

The data published will be at an individual home level therefore will not be collated by organisation and/or brand.

9. How are regions being defined and will it be by local authority as well?

At this point of analysis/publication CQC have determined it will be by region rather than LA. LAs have different demographics and could alter the narrative in regard to the regional picture.

The PHE figures by comparison are standardised to take account of the distribution of care homes across the country.

10. Who can we contact if our data is inaccurate?

You can contact CQC with any points of clarification through https://www.cqc.org.uk/contact-us

Telephone: 03000 616161
Email: [email protected]

The phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm, excluding bank holidays.

Appendix of background sources you may wish to use draw upon for context statement.

  1. https://ltccovid.org/2020/10/14/updated-international-report-on-covid-10-related-CQC mortality-in-care-homes/
  2. LSE Mortality associated with COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes: early international evidence. https://www.lse.ac.uk/Statistics/Research/Coronavirus
  3. What are the nature of the requests and national news requests? https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/search/CQC%20death%20data/all
  4. Useful analysis by Nuffield https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/news-item/covid-19-and-the-deaths-of-care-home-residents