More deaths at HC-One care homes, threat to operating license

HC-One, the care home provider that owns Aspen Court, has been identified as also being the owner of Tower Bridge Care Home where 34 residents have died of Covid–19.

In May the entire HC-One group was threatened with having its operating license revoked by the Scottish Care Inspectorate after the deaths of 10 resident at a home on the Isle of Skye.

34 deaths in Southwark

The report by the London SE1 community website states that by mid-July 34 residents of the Tower Bridge Care Home in Aberdour Street had died with COVID–19.

HC-One has been approached for comment.

According to local community journalism website London SE1 although it had been known that a number of people at the care home had been affected by COVID–19, the number of residents who had died has only recently been revealed in a report by Southwark Council’s health & adult social care scrutiny commission.

The report, which can be downloaded via the SE1 site states that as of 15 July 2020, a total of 60 residents of Southwark care homes had lost their lives to COVID 19 as can be seen in the table below.

Covid–19 deaths in Southwark care homes

Care Home Type of care home Deaths
Greenhive House OP residential 6
Queens Oak Care Home OP nursing 12
Rose Court OP residential 7
Tower Bridge Care Centre OP nursing 34
Waterside OP residential 1
Total: 60

HC-One threatened with withdrawal of operating license

In a major outbreak of coronavirus in the last week of April 10 residents died at the HC-One owned Home Farm care home in Portree on the Isle of Skye.

30 out of 34 residents at Home Farm care home tested positive for coronavirus as well as more than half the staff.

Due to the circumstances of the outbreak the Scottish Care Inspectorate (equivalent to the CQC in England) commenced legal action against HC-One to strip the entire group of its operating licence.

This would have been the first large care home group to be stripped of its license.

The Care Inspectorate later cancelled its legal action after it found “considerable improvement in the quality of care experienced by residents and the issues that were putting them at serious risk have been addressed.”

In May HC-One sent an open letter to local authorities asking for additional funding to help it weather the crisis.

Of the £3.8billion of funding allocated by the Government for councils responding to the coronavirus pandemic £600million was specifically for infection control in care homes.

High Covid–19 death rates* in English & Scottish care homes

Care Home Local Authority Provider Deaths
Tower Bridge Southwark HC-One 34
Aspen Court Tower Hamlets HC-One 21
Melbury Court Durham HC-One 21
Sunnyview House Leeds Bupa 17
Home Farm, Skye Highland Council HC-One 10

*Note: Reported Covid–19 deaths are from different time periods so cannot be compared like-with-like.

As previously reported the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England, is refusing to publish data relating to Covid–19 deaths in individual care homes into the public domain, although it does provide this data to the government.

The reason the CQC gives for this non-disclosure is that it fears that giving those who pay for care homes the data may damage the commercial interests of the care home providers.

Covid–19 deaths data concealed by CQC

According to a report in The Guardian, HC-One, the UK’s largest private care home provider, recorded more than 1,000 suspected or confirmed Covid-19 deaths in total across all its 330 homes including three staff.

  • Four Seasons Health Care recorded 567 Covid–19 deaths in total in its care homes
  • Care UK, which operates 123 homes, recorded 642 deaths
  • Bupa reported 266 confirmed cases, but has not revealed suspected Covid–19 deaths

Aspen Court – Appeal for Witnesses

“Can you help the Wapping Mole with some digging please?”

EEE still needs to contact more witnesses to the events at Aspen Court during the pandemic.

You might be one of the many families who lost a parent to coronavirus at Aspen Court.

You might be someone who worked at Aspen Court during that time.

EEE can only investigate with your help. All we do is join up the dots, residents are the ones who provide the information.

As with all our sources who make our investigative work possible your confidentiality is 100% guaranteed so if you know something please contact EEE at

EEE Comment

Due to the data related to deaths from Covid–19 in care homes being actively concealed from the general public by the CQC it is not possible to undertake a proper analysis of care homes where there were a high number of deaths.

HC-One is the largest care home provider in England and so it is not surprising that it has had care homes with what might seem to be high Covid–19 death rates amongst residents.

What is of greatest importance are the reasons for the variations in the death rates. Without the data it is not possible for the media to undertake this vital work. If a second coronavirus wave hits us during the winter it is essential that everyone has access to all possible information.

The Care Quality Commission should release all Covid–19 deaths data immediately. If it does not do this voluntarily then it should be forced to do so by central government.

On its website the CQC states its purpose as being “We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve”

The CQC might like to remember that in the 21st century providing relevant data to the public is fundamental to promoting safe, effective, compassionate, and high-quality care.

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