Increase in deaths reported in mental health settings as a result of COVID-19

Figures released by the CQC suggest that there has been a doubling of deaths reported during the period 1 March to 1 May 2020 by mental health providers of detained patients. 106 deaths were reported in these settings with providers confirming that Covid-19 was a cause or a factor within the deaths of 54 people.

The rise in deaths in this sector could be as a result of a number of factors but the increase is enough for the CQC to take notice and re-emphasise the importance of infection control to its mental health providers through the use of PPE and best practice in caring for patients with the greatest care.  CQC will be looking to some mental health providers to urgently explain the steps they are/will be taking to manage coronavirus outbreaks within their services.

CQC are also concerned about the toll the lockdown is having on the human rights of detained patients and CQC are engaging in a dialogue with providers in order to understand patients’ experiences more broadly. CQC restate the important principles that are fundamental to mental health organisations and indeed other providers of care that actions that are taken are: least restrictive, necessary and proportionalte.