New figures for England and Wales show the toll paid by those working on the frontline.

New figures published today show that the deaths of 1,991 health and social care staff in England and Wales involved Covid-19.

The Office for National Statistics figures, covering the period 8th March 2020 to 31st December 2021, cover health and social care staff aged 20 to 64. The highest toll is amongst women, accounting for 1,317 of the deaths – two-thirds.

The roll-out of vaccines has slowed the rate of deaths involving Covid-19. However, early in the pandemic concerns were raised about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care staff.

A Public Accounts Committee report published last year found that “many healthcare workers” had been put in “the appalling situation of staff having to care for people with Covid-19 or suspected Covid-19 without sufficient PPE to protect themselves from infection.” The committee also found that the government had “wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on PPE which is of poor quality and cannot be used for the intended purpose”.