Covid Hospital Admissions

A Third of ‘Covid’ Hospital Patients Are in Hospital For a Different Reason

Data published on Friday shows that the proportion of ‘Covid’ hospital patients in England who are in hospital for a different reason and only test positive for Covid incidentally has increased to 33%. Mail Online has more.

One in three patients hospitalised with Covid in England aren’t actually being treated for the virus itself, official data revealed today.

NHS figures show the proportion of so-called ‘incidental’ admissions – patients who happen to test positive after seeking care for a different ailment – is continuing to tick upwards.

Just 5,578 of the 8,321 virus-infected patients receiving hospital care in England on December 28th were primarily being treated for Covid, equating to around 67%.

This is down from 71% from a week prior and 74% down from the start of December, in another sign the Omicron wave is milder than previous surges.

These cases are from patients taken to hospital for an unrelated reason, such as a fall or broken bone, who just happen to then discover they also have the virus.

It means thousands of patients who are being counted as coronavirus admissions – suggesting they are severely ill with the condition – are not actually suffering seriously with the virus.

Many only tested positive once they were on wards – and may have simply caught the virus while there.

It has raised concerns that the headline statistics – which drive Government decisions on restrictions and lockdowns – are overestimating how many people are dangerously sick with Covid.

Worth reading in full.

How Could the Head of the NHS Have Got the Covid Hospital Admissions Figures So Wrong?

We’re publishing a second post about today’s wildly misleading claim by the CEO of NHS England that the number of patients being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is currently 14 times greater than it was this time last year, this one by the Daily Sceptic’s in-house doctor. He is a hardened former NHS consultant and it takes a lot to shock him – but even he was taken aback but just how inaccurate this statement was.

Earlier today, Amanda Pritchard, the CEO of the NHS, made a statement to the effect that there were currently 14 times as many patients being admitted to English hospitals with COVID compared to this time last year. The purpose of this article is not to point out that this statement is factually incorrect – it’s so obviously incorrect that there have already been plenty of other commentators running fact checks.

Rather, I aim to quantify how incorrect that statement was and consider why the person running the NHS could have made such an egregious error of fact. So far, I have not seen a formal retraction or explanation from Ms Pritchard.

Firstly, the figures as we see them on the official NHS dashboard. In graph 1 I have plotted the number of patients admitted to hospital each day and the number of diagnoses of Covid made in hospital from April to November. The brown line is 2020 and the blue line 2021. It can clearly be seen that currently there are fewer patients being admitted and diagnosed in hospital with Covid than at this time last year. The only point at which one could possibly stand up an argument that there were 14 times as many patients being admitted in 2021 compared to 2020 would be the middle of August. In mid-August 2020 there were roughly 40 patients per day being admitted to English hospitals with Covid. In mid-August 2021 there were about 650 a day – this is approximately 14 times the 2020 figure.

My guess is that someone panicking in NHS England looked at Graph 1 (which they clearly have access to) and trotted out the line that Pritchard was referring to the numbers in August, giving the pathetically mendacious excuse that “these are the latest data we have”.

Head of NHS England Caught Out Spreading Misinformation About Covid Hospital Admissions

Earlier today, Amanda Pritchard, the head of NHS England, made the following claim:

There is no doubt that the NHS is running hot and there are some very real pressures on health and social care. We have had 14 times the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 than we saw this time last year.

Needless to say, this was faithfully reported by various media outlets. For instance, ITV News ran a story on it headlined: “Hospital Covid admissions 14 times higher than this time in 2020.”

There was only one problem: it isn’t true. The number of COVID-19 patients currently in English hospitals is 7,510 according to the Government’s Coronavirus Dashboard, whereas the number in November 2020 was over 11,000.

When the figures being reported by ITV – and Sky News, and iNews – were challenged, NHS England issued a ‘clarification’, explaining that she was comparing August 2021 with August 2020, neglecting to mention that in August of last year the virus had dwindled away to almost nothing. The reason she hadn’t cited more up to date figures, according to the poor flak at NHS England tasked with explaining away this misleading stat, was that “these are the latest figures they have”.

Unfortunately, the cover up was no more true than the initial claim. NHS England has access to more up to date figures than August of this year – the latest figures on the Coronavirus Dashboard, supplied by NHS England, are for November 2nd.