Hospital 10th highest for rate of Covid deaths after admission

James Paget Hospital

The James Paget University Hospital - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

A quarter of all Covid deaths occurred after patients were infected while in a Norfolk hospital, new figures have revealed. 

The figures found the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, was 10th highest for the percentage of all Covid deaths where patients were infected in hospital, with 25.8pc. 

NHS data released to the Guardian under the freedom of information act showed some 32,307 people had "probably or definitely" contracted Covid-19 while in hospital since March 2020.

Of those, 8,747 people who died were all in hospital for other medical treatment, such as to have an operation, for care after a fall or the flare-up of a serious illness.

No Norfolk hospital ranked in the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 caught in hospital.

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The death numbers can be influenced by factors including the size of a hospital, the number of single rooms, its intensive care unit's capacity, the level of infection among and the make-up of a local population, and infection control procedures.

A spokesperson for the hospital, said: “The Office for National Statistics has made clear that when infections in the community are high, NHS staff and patients are more likely to be affected.

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“Managing Covid, and in particular asymptomatic cases, can be challenging, so throughout the pandemic the Trust has had robust infection prevention measures in place, including zoning the hospital, regularly testing patients and staff, and increased cleaning, in line with national guidance.”

The data includes people who died in hospital and after discharge, and did not distinguish between those who died from Covid, with Covid, or from another condition that could have been exacerbated by the virus - for example a heart attack.

The data was from 81 out of England's 126 hospital trusts. 

The co-founder of Covid-19 bereaved Families for Justice UK, which is calling for a government inquiry, said it should be brought to the summer and an interim report presented on preventing transmissions within hospitals in autumn.

He said: "The mortality rate for patients and staff who were infected in hospitals is horrifying and must be stopped from happening again ahead of a potential third wave.

"On issues such as segregating patients on wards, PPE for frontline workers and testing patients who are discharged, there are critical questions around how prepared hospitals were and the resources they were provided."

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