Hospital data shows that nearly 12,000 patients who were admitted to hospitals for other illnesses probably caught Covid while there and died shortly afterwards. This finding has boosted calls to implement mandatory vaccination measures for all NHS staff, with the policy becoming enforced sometime during the spring – although why, exactly, is unclear, given that the vaccinated can still catch the disease and infect others. The Telegraph has the story.
On Monday night, MPs condemned the figures as a “scandal”.
The revelation has prompted fresh calls for vaccinations for NHS staff to become compulsory, amid fears that hospitals could struggle to cope during the winter.
It is expected that the Government will announce mandatory vaccination for NHS staff this week, but give them until spring to get the jab.
Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative Chairman of the Health and Social Care select committee, said: “These numbers are truly shocking… hospital infections have been the deadliest silent killer of the pandemic… It surely strengthens the case for mandatory vaccination for frontline healthcare staff.”
Using Freedom of Information laws, the Telegraph obtained data from NHS Trusts around England showing the numbers of Covid cases that were likely caught in hospital, known as nosocomial infections, and subsequent deaths.
The disclosures reveal that 11,688 people who died in hospital after testing positive for Covid likely caught the virus there, accounting for one in eight Covid deaths in hospital.
One trust recorded as many as 484 deaths of patients who were thought to have caught the virus on wards during the pandemic. In some trusts, around a third of the patients who had died with Covid had caught the virus in hospital.
The revelations will raise concerns that hospitals have become a breeding ground for the virus and that the NHS has not taken adequate measures to stop it from spreading.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Our in-house doctor pointed out the danger of in-hospital infections in October, 2020. As with most big Covid news stories, you read it here first.
Stop Press 2: Boris Johnson visited a hospital in the North East yesterday without wearing a mask. The Guardian has more.