Up to 8,700 patients died after catching Covid-19 while in hospital being treated for another medical problem, according to official NHS data obtained by the Guardian.
The figures, which were provided by the hospitals themselves, were described as “horrifying” by relatives of those who died.
Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, said that hospital-acquired Covid “remains one of the silent scandals of this pandemic, causing many thousands of avoidable deaths”.
NHS leaders and senior doctors have long claimed hospitals have struggled to stop Covid spreading because of shortages of single rooms, a lack of personal protective equipment and an inability to test staff and patients early in the pandemic.
Now, official figures supplied by NHS trusts in England show that 32,307 people have probably or definitely contracted the disease while in hospital since March 2020 – and 8,747 of them died.
That means that almost three in 10 (27.1%) of those infected that way lost their lives within 28 days.
“The NHS has done us all proud over the past year, but these new figures are devastating and pose challenging questions on whether the right hospital infection controls were in place”, said Hunt, who chairs the Commons health and social care select committee.
Source: The Guardian, 24 May 2021