Hospitals have been accused of “unnecessary secrecy” for refusing to disclose how many of their patients died after catching Covid on their wards.
The Patients Association, doctors’ leaders and the campaign group Transparency International have criticised the 42 NHS acute trusts in England that did not comply fully with freedom of information request for hospital-acquired Covid infections and deaths. 26 trusts, including the RD&E, did not give any information at all.
The Guardian revealed on Monday that up to 8,700 patients lost their lives after probably or definitely becoming infected during the pandemic while in hospital for surgery or other treatment. That was based on responses from 81 of the 126 trusts from which it sought figures. Clearly with figures from all trusts, the total is likely to have exceeded 10,000.
The British Medical Association, the main doctors’ trade union, said the 42 trusts that did not reveal how many such deaths had occurred in their hospitals were denying the bereaved crucial information.
“No one should come into hospital with one condition, only to be made incredibly ill with, or even die from, a dangerous infectious disease,” Dr Rob Harwood, chair of the BMA’s hospital consultants committee, said.