News

COVID 19: UK health and social care worker death toll among the highest worldwide

Amnesty International says figures for England and Wales are second only to Russia
Images of UK healthcare professionals who died during the COVID-19 pandemic

Amnesty International report says the figures for England and Wales are second only to Russia

The UK has some the highest numbers of health and social care worker deaths from COVID-19, according to a report by Amnesty International.

Deaths among health and social care staff in England and Wales

The charity analysed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as part of its report. There were 540 deaths of health and social care workers recorded in England and Wales between 9 March and 25 May this year.

Amnesty International report says the figures for England and Wales are second only to Russia


Some of the 540 UK healthcare professionals who died during the COVID-19 pandemic

The UK has some the highest numbers of health and social care worker deaths from COVID-19, according to a report by Amnesty International. 

Deaths among health and social care staff in England and Wales

The charity analysed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as part of its report. There were 540 deaths of health and social care workers recorded in England and Wales between 9 March and 25 May this year.

A total of 272 deaths involving the virus were registered among healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses, midwives, nursing assistants, paramedics, ambulance staff and hospital porters.

There were 268 deaths involving COVID-19 among social care workers during the same period.

UK figures second only to Russia

Amnesty International said the figures for England and Wales are second only to Russia, which recorded 545 healthcare worker deaths. 

The same ONS data found that nurses in England and Wales had statistically significant higher rates of death involving COVID-19, with 50.4 deaths per 100,000 men (31 deaths) and 15.3 deaths per 100,000 women (70 deaths). 

Those in nursing assistant roles were also found to have elevated rates among men (58.9 deaths per 100,000 men, or 30 deaths).

Amnesty International said it analysed a wide range of data, which revealed that more than 3,000 health workers in 79 countries have died after contracting COVID-19.

However, it added that this figure is likely to be a ‘significant underestimate’ due to under-reporting, and noted that the UK is one of few countries to distinguish between deaths of social care and healthcare staff, increasing the total relative to other nations.

‘Failure to provide proper PPE and cope with alarmingly high BAME death rates’

Amnesty International UK’s director Kate Allen said: ‘We have to understand whether these deaths were avoidable, and what led to this terrible outcome.

‘There appears to have been a catastrophic failure to provide proper personal protective equipment and a failure to grapple with the alarmingly high death rates among BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) health workers.’

In response to the report, the Department of Health and Social Care said the findings are ‘in no way an accurate comparison’ with other countries.

View our COVID-19 resource centre 


Related material

Amnesty International: Exposed, Silenced, Attacked: Failures to protect health and essential workers during the pandemic


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs