Enfield has so far seen the highest number of care home deaths involving Covid-19 in London, official figures show.

The borough recorded 73 deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes between April 10 and May 29, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It is the highest figure of all 32 London boroughs.

Neighbouring Barnet saw the second-highest number, with 63 care home deaths involving Covid-19 during the same period.

According to the council, there are 82 care homes in the borough – the third-highest number in London.

The ONS figures are updated every week based on information from the Care Quality Commission.

Enfield’s current ONS figure is lower than the 120 “confirmed or suspected” care home deaths from Covid-19 reported by the council at the end of April.

Since the coronavirus crisis began, the council has been providing support to the borough’s care sector.

According to a cabinet report published on May 13, the local authority provided more than 1.5 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and aprons to all providers over a four-week period, free of charge.

Financial support provided by the council includes top-up grants for care placements and a £1,000 payment to all providers to help them purchase PPE.

Although health secretary Matt Hancock recently claimed the Government had thrown a “protective ring” around care homes from the start of the crisis, ministers have faced criticism over an apparent lack of support for the sector.

Enfield Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan has been among those lobbying the Government for better support for the care providers after warning of shortages of PPE and inadequate testing.

The Government subsequently rolled out mobile testing units and announced tests would be made available to all care home staff and residents, whether or not they had symptoms.

On May 26, the Government announced a further significant boost to the supply of PPE, signing deals with 100 new suppliers around the world and increasing domestic production. An online portal has also been set up to allow care firms to order PPE.

Nadra Ahmed, chief executive of the National Care Association, which represents small and medium-sized care providers, commented: “This has been one of the most challenging times for providers as they faced this deadly virus without support from both central and local government at the outset.

“Providers had to fight hard to get PPE as their usual suppliers started to tell them their stock was being requisitioned for the NHS. Primary care support was cut back leaving providers to cope on their own.

“The care home staff have worked incredibly hard under these circumstances to support the vulnerable residents in their care. They are now building on their experiences to prepare for any further waves which include keeping a good stock of PPE.

“Additionally, requests for tests are critical as that is the only way to keep the virus out of the services and we know that many providers are having to wait weeks for these tests and the results to arrive, which is totally unacceptable.

“Providers are also fighting for viability as monies released through central Government for Covid costs and Infection Control is not finding its way to the front line in any meaningful way. Clearly, there is still a great deal of clarity required to ensure that we can implement a new normal in our service.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “During this unprecedented pandemic, we have seen around the world that the virus can have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people.

“We are doing everything we can to support the social care sector, including ensuring millions of items of PPE are available to care workers, using our increased testing capacity to test care home residents and staff regardless of symptoms and introducing a new £600 million Infection Control Fund to help prevent the spread in care homes.

"We are clear that no wholesaler has been asked to prioritise NHS provision over the care sector, nor should they be doing so. If there is any indication that social care wholesalers are prioritising the NHS, providers should make us aware.’’