Nearly half of coronavirus patients in some NHS hospitals are likely to have caught it there, “shocking” figures show.
New statistics show that in the last month, there has been a doubling in the proportion of hospital patients with coronavirus thought to have become infected after admission.
Jeremy Hunt, former Health Secretary, said it was “indefensible” that all hospitals are still not doing weekly testing of staff, despite the spread of infections within hospitals.
The NHS figures show that across the country, 18 per cent of hospital patients with Covid are thought to have become infected after they were admitted to a ward – up from 9 per cent in one month.
Such cases are seen as “probable” infections within the hospital, as they involve those who tested positive at least seven days after admission.
Some of the highest levels of infection within hospitals are seen in the North West.
At Liverpool University Hospitals NHS foundation trust, 271 patients were diagnosed with Covid in the week ending October 25. Of those, 27 per cent were likely to have been infected after they went to hospital, the figures suggest.
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS trust saw 210 patients diagnosed with Covid in the same week – with 25 per cent of cases likely to involve infection after admission.
At Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS trust, and University Hospitals Dorset NHS foundation trust, more than 44 per cent of Covid cases were probably “hospital-acquired,” the figures show.
Mr Hunt, chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee, said: “These are shocking figures. Many people died in the first wave after picking up the infection inside a hospital or a care home. We seem to have learned the lessons in care homes, but are still not doing weekly testing of hospital staff. To make the same mistake twice would be indefensible.”
The committee has repeatedly called on ministers to introduce weekly testing of NHS staff, including those who are asymptomatic, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.