Amnesty International Report of UK Govt Elderly People Failures

Posted on 2nd September, 2021


Amensty International Report. 'AS IF EXPENDABLE' - The UK Government's Failure to protect older people in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic


A passage from the report on the United Kingdom in 2020.

"Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on older persons living in care homes in England. 28,186 “excess deaths” were recorded in care homes in England between 2 March and 12 June, with over 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with Covid-19 during this period. UK government decisions and failures resulted in violations of the human rights of people living in care homes, notably the right to life, to health and to non-discrimination. From discharging 25,000 patients, including those infected, into care homes; to denying care homes residents admission to hospital and imposing “do not attempt resuscitation” orders on them without due process, to failing to provide PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing to care homes. Older persons living in care homes were abandoned to die." (Link and PDF)

It was similar in Italy, Spain and Belgium:

United Kingdom

'As if Expendable'


The UK Government's Failure to Protect Older People in Care Homes During the COVID-19 Pandemic


'Abandoned to Their Fate'


The Lack of Protect and Discrimination of Elderly People in Residences During teh COVID-19 Pandemic


'Rest Houses in Blind Spot'


The Human Rights of Older Persons During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Belgium




Violation of the Right to Life, Health and Non-Discrimination of Elderly People in Social Helath Facilities and Social Assistance During the Pandemic in Italy

An annotated extract of the report by PreEarth in brackets:

"The Department of Health and Social Care.... adopted a policy,... that led to 25,000 patients, including those (known to be) infected (with Covid-19, and also those who were) possibly infected with Covid-19 (as they) had not been tested, being discharged from hospital into care homes between 17 March and 15 April—exponentially increasing the risk of transmission to the very population most at risk of severe illness and death from the disease. (This, while being denied) access to testing, (being denied) personal protective equipment, (while having) insufficient staff, and limited (and confusing) guidance. (As expected) care homes were overwhelmed.


Care home managers have reported to Amnesty International, as well as to the media, that they were pressured in different ways to accept patients discharged from hospital who had not been tested or who were Covid-19 positive.


I was contacted by concerned residents, saying surely we wouldn't put Covid-19 patients in care homes where the most vulnerable are? But commissioning [the council commissioning department] said, yes we are....


They endangered older people by discharging infected patients into care homes, without even providing tests and personal protective equipment.


Baroness Ros Altmann said: "care homes were left behind in the scramble for PPE, for emergency admission, ventilation and for testing... It's almost as if the system is stacked against them."


Care England has also reported incidents of supplies ordered by care homes being requisitioned for the NHS (National Health Service). Our local hospital always had over 500 empty beds and so staff were not under pressure and they had lots of PPE. (However) we had 45 percent of the staff self-isolating and were scrambling to get PPE and even food. By barring both oversight and family visits, the government increased the risk that care home residents would be exposed to abuses that would not be identified, reported and investigated." (PDF)


See also:

  • UK held in violation of European Convention of Human Rights
    • In a violation of Article 8 - right to respect for private and family life/communications in respect of the bulk intercept regime;
    • unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 8 in respect of the regime for obtaining communications data from communication service providers
    • unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 10 - freedom of expression



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