Norfolk hospital over the peak as Covid cases fall


The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn is over the peak of the third wave of Covid, its board of directors heard today - Credit: QEH

A Norfolk hospital is over the peak of the third wave of Covid, as admissions and deaths from the disease fall.

More than 1,600 people have now been treated for coronavirus at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, its board of directors heard on Tuesday (March 2).

Some 949 have been discharged, while 473 have died and 78 remained in hospital as of February 23.

In a report to governors Caroline Shaw, the hospital's chief executive, said: "Covid-19 cases are beginning to slowly reduce at QEH, and we are confident that we are now moving beyond the peak of the second wave of the pandemic."

She added as of March 2, the QEH was treating 59 patients - 55 on wards and four in intensive care - compared to 220 at the peak of the latest outbreak. Staff sickness levels were also improving.

Chief operating officer Denise Smith said: "I'm delighted to confirm to the board we continue to see a reduction in Covid-positive patients in the trust."

She added 19,500 people had now been vaccinated at the hospital, including 4,000 of its staff.

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Medical director Dr Frankie Swords said some patients had died after contracting the virus in hospital.

She said every death would be reviewed and the hospital would be fulfilling its duty of candour for every patient.  

Hospital directors heard from Joanne,  whose mother was admitted to the hospital on December 3 with suspected sepsis. She said her mother, who caught Covid in the QEH but had subsequently recovered, was moved between six different wards during her stay.

"It was extremely difficult to get anyone to answer the phone on any of the wards," Joanne said. "We were worried obviously with the Covid situation.

"All we wanted was someone to come to us to say: 'Your mum's fine, no problems'. That's all we wanted." 

Chief nurse April Brown said a dedicated helpline had been set up on January 25, which had so far dealt with 900 calls. She added processes were now in place to reduce ward moves.