Mansfield and Ashfield hospitals taking infection control 'extremely seriously' as trust's Covid-19 transmission rates announced
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Analysis of NHS England data shows that, between August 1 and March 21, 226 people were thought to have been infected with Covid-19 at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which runs King’s Mill and Mansfield Community hospitals – while being treated in hospital for other conditions.
The highest number of such transmissions was recorded in January alone, when 88 people were believed to have been infected in hospital.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust cared for 1,722 Covid-19 patients between August 1 and March 21 – meaning 13 per cent are thought to have contracted the disease in hospital – which is below the national average of 15 per cent.
Chief nurse and infection prevention control lead for Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Julie Hogg, said: “Sherwood Forest Hospitals takes infection control extremely seriously and we have followed national guidance with a range of infection control measures to keep our colleagues and patients as safe as we possibly can during the pandemic.
“We recognise that we are below the national average for hospital acquired infections of Covid-19 and we will continue to work to reduce infections acquired in hospital.
“Due to reductions in activity, our bed capacity has been good and we have been able to keep patients socially distanced in our bed spaces.
"We have also established new processes within our emergency department to prevent overcrowding.
“We are aware that the main driver to rising infection rates within hospitals are community rates and note the emergence of the new highly transmissible variants in November and December, but do ensure that colleagues follow national guidance on PPE to help protect themselves and to help reduce any cross infection whilst treating patients.
"Our colleagues also undertake twice weekly asymptomatic Covid-19 tests using lateral flow tests.
“Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease and, even with excellent infection prevention controls in place, some infections will happen.
"We continually assess our infection control measures and look to do more to improve where we can.
“All colleagues have been asked to rigorously follow Public Health England’s infection control guidance, our hospital infection rates currently stand below 13% for February 2021.”
Across England, 40,670 people are thought to have been infected with Covid-19 in hospital since August – 15 per cent of all inpatients with the disease.
The British Medical Association said the NHS was already overstretched before the pandemic and warned bed capacity and staffing must be increased to control the spread of the virus in hospitals.
Rob Harwood, chairman of the BMA consultants committee, said: "The NHS went into the current pandemic underfunded, understaffed and overstretched, and the knock-on effects – such as limited bed capacity – has unfortunately meant that controlling the spread of Covid-19 within hospitals has been more difficult than necessary.
"For some time now, the BMA has been calling for the Government to urgently address issues that would go far in ensuring the hospital environment is as safe as possible.
“NHS staff have been working tirelessly under extraordinary conditions – there’s no doubt that the spread of the virus throughout hospitals will have only increased stress levels for both patients and staff."