Report due out into how patients caught Covid at Norfolk hospital

QEH file pic

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. - Credit: QEH

A report into how patients became infected with Covid at a Norfolk hospital will be published next month.

Some 389 people contracted the virus at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Some 151 of them died.

The QEH's annual members meeting heard that since March 13, 2020, when it recorded its first case, the hospital had treated 1,850 Covid patients, 1,284 of whom were successfully discharged while 511 of whom died.

The families of everyone who caught the virus at the hospital are being contacted by a letter apologising for what happened followed by a phone call or meeting with staff if families have concerns. Some have asked to meet those who cared for their loved ones.

Chief nurse Alice Webster told the meeting: "Most patients and families have welcomed conversations with the hospital."

She said the findings of an investigation into how patients caught coronavirus would be published in the autumn. She said the pandemic had been a time of "unprecedented challenge and a huge period of change".

The QEH was the first in the country to launch what it calls a duty of candour exercise. The report is understood to set out the lessons which have been learned and how patient care will be improved in the light of them.

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Announcing the launch of the exercise in May, QEH chief executive Caroline Shaw said: This exercise is our opportunity to explain to our patients and their families the actions we are taking, and any lessons learnt.

"It is also an important way of fully discharging our duty of candour responsibilities, and commitment to openness and transparency with our patients and their families."

The meeting, held earlier this month, also heard the QEH has submitted its case for a new hospital to build to central government, with a decision expected in the spring.

At the height of the pandemic, the hospital was treating 200 coronavirus patients - almost half its capacity, while that figure has now fallen to 45. Some 1,068 staff members have become infected.

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