Hospital to write to families of second-wave Covid victims

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has discharged its 1,000 Covid-19 patient.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will be writing to 100 families of Covid victims - Credit: Nick Butcher

The city's hospital is set to write to the families of scores of patients who died after catching Covid-19 on its wards during the second wave of the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, 693 patients died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, while more than 2,000 were treated.

But a total of 129 of the patients who died contracted definite or probable infections of the virus while at the hospital itself.

Investigations into how these happened are under way as part of a duty of candour probe.

While the hospital is finalising the findings of this investigation, it has confirmed it will be writing to the families of 100 patients who died during the second wave of the pandemic. 

The hospital has already contacted 29 families of those who died from this cause during the first wave.

The letters express condolences and explain how patients contracted the virus while staying within the hospital walls.

Professor Nancy Fontaine, chief nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENIS

Professor Nancy Fontaine, chief nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

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Professor Nancy Fontaine, NNUH chief nurse and director of infection control, said:  “It has been an unprecedented time for our infection control and hospital teams with the huge challenges brought by a highly infectious virus and asymptomatic Covid transmission.

“We are very sorry and our condolences are with all those who have lost loved ones over the course of the pandemic who contracted or potentially contracted Covid-19 whilst as an inpatient at NNUH. It is our duty to be open and transparent with our patients and their families – we are sharing our learnings and we are committed to making continual improvements.”

“Alongside a hugely successful vaccination programme, we maintain robust infection prevention measures, including staff, patient and visitor testing, PPE, extra cleaning and we continue to follow national guidance to protect staff and their patients.”

It comes after one of the county's other hospitals, the crumbling Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, released its own report into the spread of Covid through its campus.

In this, the hospital said that its layout had hampered efforts to prevent Covid from spreading between its wards, with 151 patients having died after catching the virus there.

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