What's going on at KGH? The true toll of Covid-19 at Kettering General Hospital revealed

For the first time, the number of inpatients and recovered patients is made public

Kettering General Hospital. File picture.
Kettering General Hospital. File picture.

For three months, local people have been keen to hear the impact of Covid-19 at our local hospital.

People have told us they are keen to hear how many have recovered and been sent home.

Many have been concerned that the number of deaths at KGH does not seem to be dropping as quickly as other areas and that the rate of infection is still high. A Health Service Journal story yesterday (Friday, June 12) revealed that about 60 per cent of those in Northamptonshire hospitals probably caught the virus in hospital.

The Covid-19 figures at KGH

Health bosses said they could not reveal detailed figures about Covid-19 at KGH because they did not want to disclose figures outside of the government's official reporting system.

Now the Northants Telegraph can divulge internal figures provided regularly to key staff at the trust, which have not yet been audited by the government, show that:

- The total, cumulative, number of KGH inpatients diagnosed with Covid-19 rose from 557 on May 28 to 663 last night (June 12). That's a rise of 106 in fifteen days.

- The number of people who have recovered from Covid-19 at KGH and been discharged since the beginning of the outbreak is 234, up from 196 two weeks ago.

- The number of patients in ICU has dropped from six on May 28 to three last night.

- The number of cumulative deaths at the hospital rose from 164 two weeks ago to 202 last night.

The Rothwell Road hospital has struggled to reduce its number of cases since the national peak in April. There have been worries that it may have been experiencing a second peak of the illness. It was also revealed at the end of May that two KGH wards had to close after 'clusters' of coronavirus developed there. They were later reopened after Public Health England gave them a clean bill of health.

On Thursday (June 11), the hospital had the second highest number of deaths recorded at six, behind Northampton General Hospital with seven.

Yesterday, in a message to all staff, medical director Andrew Chilton and director of nursing and midwifery Leanne Hackshall reminded staff of basic social distancing rules.

The memo said: "Many people have approached us and spoken of how well the trust has done in keeping staff safe and supplied with appropriate PPE.

"KGH employees have gone the extra mile in making sure that we have been able to do this.

"In addition we have introduced staff testing for the virus.. In return, Leanne and I have an ask, a simple ask, that is very effective in preventing the chain of infection while keeping patients and staff safe.

"This is to respect and adhere to social distancing (plus handwashing). We have been struck in our travels around the trust how many staff do not appear to be aware or mindful of this.

"We constantly find ourselves having to take on the role of 'school monitor'."

From Monday, following a government edict, staff at KGH will be required to wear face masks. Those staff working in covid-secure areas (mainly offices outside of the main building) won't have to wear masks but all staff in the main building, including those going inside to visit Costa Coffee, will have to wear masks.

A second memo says that masks must be worn in corridors and clinical areas and can only be removed inside individual offices.

The trust did not want to comment on the figures last night and a spokesperson for the Northamptonshire COVID-19 Strategic Coordination Centre, which has been dealing with communications on Covid for the past two months, said that their stance had not changed from the end of May when they told our reporters: “It is important that all statistics that go into the public domain are verified and accurate.

"Just like everywhere else in the country, the NHS in Northamptonshire reports daily COVID-19 data to NHS England, and then verified regional and local statistics are published nationally by the government every day. In line with national guidance, we do not publish our own data outside of this process because doing so may result in the public receiving incomplete and unverified information.”