UK: Nearly Half of COVID Patients in Some Hospitals Were Infected After Admission
18 percent nationally
Nearly half of coronavirus patients in some NHS hospitals are likely to have caught the virus there, “shocking” new figures show.
Statistics show that in the last month there has been a doubling in the proportion of hospital patients with Covid who are thought to have become infected after admission.
Jeremy Hunt, a former Health Secretary, said it was “indefensible” that all hospitals are still not carrying out weekly testing of staff despite the spread of infections within hospitals.
The NHS figures show that, across the country, 18 per cent of hospital patients with Covid are thought to have become infected after they were admitted to a ward – up from nine per cent in one month.
Such cases are seen as “probable” infections within the hospital, as they involve those who tested positive at least seven days after admission.
The 10 hospitals with highest percentages of cases classed as “probable healthcare acquired Covid-19”:
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals: 44.6 per cent
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation: 44.4 per cent
Stockport NHS Foundation: 39.7 per cent
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation: 34.5 per cent
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation: 32.9 per cent
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation: 28.2 per cent
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation: 27.3 per cent
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals: 27.1 per cent
Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust: 26.7 per cent
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust: 25.2 per cent
National average: 17.9 per cent
*Analysis limited to NHS trusts with at least 50 Covid cases in week ending October 25 – Data Source:NHS England
Some of the highest levels of infection within hospitals are in the North-West. At Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 271 patients were diagnosed with Covid in the week ending October 25. Of those, 27 per cent were likely to have been infected after they went to hospital, the figures suggest.
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust saw 210 patients diagnosed with Covid in the same week, with 25 per cent of cases likely to involve infection after admission. At Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, and University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, more than 44 per cent of Covid cases were probably “hospital-acquired”, the figures show.
Mr Hunt, the chairman of the Commons health select committee, said: “These are shocking figures. Many people died in the first wave after picking up the infection inside a hospital or a care home.
“We seem to have learned the lessons in care homes, but are still not doing weekly testing of hospital staff. To make the same mistake twice would be indefensible.”
The committee has repeatedly called on ministers to introduce weekly testing of NHS staff, including those who are asymptomatic, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
So far, the chief medical officer has only said that “regular” tests will be offered in areas with high infection rates, with 11 trusts, including Liverpool University Hospitals and Pennine Acute Hospitals, now offering them to staff.
The NHS said weekly testing of “patient-facing” NHS staff was offered in geographical areas designated by the Government as “very high risk”.
A spokesman said: “Rising community Covid transmission increases the risk in healthcare settings, so hospitals have been asked to ensure they are accurately recording their data and are rigorously following infection prevention and control protocols, including now the introduction of asymptomatic staff testing.
“It has never been more important that everyone does what they can to reduce the risk of spreading the virus by following the Hands, Face, Space guidance.”
University Hospitals Dorset said it had begun testing frontline staff in high-risk areas after the outbreak was detected. Before then, only staff working on cancer wards were offered such tests.
The trust’s chief medical officer, Dr Alyson O’Donnell, said: “Our routine testing identified a number of patients who tested positive for Covid at Poole Hospital in October.
“We followed and continue to follow our strict infection prevention and control guidelines and are working with NHS England and the local public health team to manage this in line with our outbreak policy. As a result, a small number of wards at Poole Hospital have been closed to new patient admissions and all staff and key contacts working in these areas have been tested for Covid.
“In this phase of Covid, we have seen an increase in the number of staff and patients who are positive for coronavirus and not displaying symptoms but who are able to pass it on to others who may then become seriously ill.”
Source: The Telegraph