In the week ending 24 October 2021 there were 17,749 new cases of Covid reported to the Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI) Scotland service.
- 17,427 (98.2%) were reported as community onset (first positive specimen taken in the community). In the previous week (week ending 17 October 2021) there were 17,462 (98.5%).
- 239 (1.3%) were reported as non-hospital onset (first positive specimen on day 1 or 2 of admission to NHS board). In the previous week (week ending 17 October 2021) there were 175 (1.0%).
- 22 (0.1%) were reported as indeterminate hospital onset (first positive specimen on days 3 to 7 of admission to NHS board). In the previous week (week ending 17 October 2021) there were 25 (0.1%).
- 17 (0.1%) were reported as probable hospital onset (first positive specimen on days 8 to 14 of admission to NHS board). In the previous week (week ending 17 October 2021) there were 21 (0.1%).
- 44 (0.2%) were reported as definite hospital onset (first positive specimen date was 15 or more days after admission to NHS board). In the previous week (week ending 17 October 2021) there were 45 (0.3%).
How good is that?
As you can see, only 44 out of 17 749 infections were picked up in Scotland’s 229 hospitals containing 20 533 beds. How good is that? 0.2% with a highly virulent airborne disease in large complex buildings and fast-changing residents and staff, seems pretty impressive to me.
Well, NHS England does not publish easily accessible data.
However, in January 2021, we found:
Thousands of ‘probable’ cases of Covid caught in hospitals in NHS England have been excluded from official figures. Health officials calculating the rate of cases in hospital settings omitted instances where patients contracted coronavirus between seven and 14 days after admission – despite the fact the virus has an incubation period of up to six days in 95 per cent of cases. This practice goes directly against official advice to staff to categorised these cases as ‘hospital onset’ infections, and allowed NHS England to claim that its ‘nosocomial rates – referring to Covid patients infected in hospital – are down to as little as 7.7 per cent.
In NHS Scotland the most recent figures, for week-ending 27th December put the definite hospital onset figure at 1.9% and the probable rate at 0.4%.
So, the rate in England of hospital-acquired Covid infection is between 3 and 4 times higher even with these fiddled figures.
Back in October, the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at Oxford put the rate at between 18% and 23%.
I contacted the researchers recently and asked for a more recent update. They said they would be updating but have not published anything newer.
BBC Scotland have not covered the story.
And we knew they were before the pandemic:
Why might Scotland’s hospitals be cleaner? One reason:
20 Oct 2008 — Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced the move to end outsourcing of catering, cleaning and porter services across all NHS …