COVID-19 survival rates at hospital trusts in a narrow strip of Essex and Havering are among the worst in the country, new figures have suggested.
Of the five trusts with the highest COVID death rates, three trusts looking after Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Broomfield in Chelmsford, Basildon, Southend and Queen’s in Romford- are in a narrow band in Essex and east London.
Mid and South Essex Hospital Trust, which looks after Broomfield, Basildon and Southend hospitals, have had 1,313 COVID-related deaths during a total of more than 35,000 COVID bed days.
That relates to a death rate of 37.27 per 1,000 COVID bed days.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust each recorded 36.6 deaths per 1,000 bed days.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Trust in the north west of England has had the worst outcomes with 44.45 deaths per 1,000 bed days
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, in Greater Manchester, has recorded 36.8 deaths per 1,000 bed days.
The best outcomes have been seen at Guy’s and St Thomas’ which has recorded almost 20,000 COVID bed days, but has seen 266 deaths.
The figures make stark reading for health professionals struggling to tackle the disease in parts of the country most affected by COVID.
Ivan Henderson, Labour group leader at Essex County Council, said: “If this was my area further down to the Tendring area of Essex, you could understand because we have a quite a high proportion of elderly people here.
“It’s a strange one.
“But it’s heartbreaking that so many people in those areas have lost loved ones during the pandemic.”
The figures relate to cases between March 25, 2020 and January 2021.
In a mark of how difficult it has been Southend Hospital’s managing director confirmed they had to reduce the flow of oxygen after facing a very high demand due to the rising numbers of patients with COVID-19.
They urged residents to follow rules and stay at home to help curb the rapidly increasing cases of patients being hospitalised.
More than four in ten hospital beds in Essex are now occupied by COVID-19 patients.
At 4pm on January 5, there were 1,038 beds occupied by COVID patients in hospitals in our area – 42.2 per cent of the 2,461 beds available.
It means that overall, there are now only 191 unoccupied general and acute beds available across the whole of the area, for a population of more than one million people.
The figures, from NHS England, show the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust has the highest proportion of beds filled with COVID-positive patients in Essex, with 194 occupied beds out of a total of 384 – 50.5 per cent.
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust followed with 519 beds used for COVID patients out of 1,065, or 48.7 per cent of all beds, while East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust saw 325 out of 1,012 beds in use by COVID patients, or 32.1 per cent.
Nationally, more than a quarter of hospital beds were in use for COVID patients as of January 5 at 4pm – 21,693 out of 84,948.
That is a small decrease compared to the previous day, when 21,716 beds were used for COVID patients, the highest number since these figures were first published.
Mid and south Essex NHS trust, PAH, BHR hospital trust, Public Health England and Essex County Council have been asked for comment.