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Renewed calls for Welsh Covid inquiry after figures showing quarter who died infected in hospital

06 Jul 2021 3 minute read
Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s emergency department. Source: Google

There have been renewed calls for a Wales-specific Covid inquiry after newly published figures revealed that a quarter of those who died from Covid-19 in Wales were infected in hospital.

According to an investigation by S4C’s Newyddion program, 1,860 of those who died with Covid-19 noted on their death certificate up to 1 May this year were “definitely” or “likely” to have been infected in hospital.

The Welsh Conservatives said that the figure, which equates to 24.4% of Covid-19 deaths nationwide in that period, was “devastating”.

In two health boards, Hywel Dda and Swansea Bay, the figures show that one in three Covid-19 deaths are associated with hospital infections.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS, said that after the first major outbreak at Wrexham Maelor, the Welsh Government should have implemented stronger protocols.

“This revelation reinforces the importance of ensuring there is a Wales-specific COVID inquiry,” he said.

“Decisions made in Wales had a direct impact on lives here in Wales, and they should be put under the microscope of an independent public inquiry here in Wales.

“Ministers can no longer shirk away from such a process as we owe it to the families who lost loved ones to ensure they have answers, and that Wales learns the lessons from the past 18 months and is fully prepared for any future pandemic.”

‘Worked hard’

In a statement, a Welsh Government spokesman said that their thoughts were with their families and loved ones.

“Coronavirus is a virus that has the ability to spread quickly, and we know that people can pass it on to others without showing any symptoms whatsoever,” they said.

“The NHS in Wales has worked extremely hard throughout the pandemic to do all it can to keep the virus out of hospitals and protect people in their care, often in very difficult circumstances.

“Strict measures to control and try to prevent the spread of infection have been followed, and we have published extensive guidance on social isolation and hospital visits.

“Testing has been widespread within the Health Service; staff were the first to receive a vaccine and hundreds of millions of items of PPE have been used to protect staff and patients.

“Despite all these measures, unfortunately, infection has occurred in hospitals. Sadly people have died after catching a coronary virus in hospitals. All cases are thoroughly investigated.”

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