THE trust which runs Basingstoke hospital has declined to share up-to-date figures showing how many patients have contracted Covid while in hospital.

As previously reported, at least 144 people caught Covid-19 while in a hospital run by Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT) in December.

The Gazette has asked the trust for more up-to-date figures, but HHFT has declined to share these.

In December last year it was reported that the trust had the highest acquired infection rate of coronavirus across England, with nearly 40 per cent of its Covid-19 patients catching the virus while being treated for another illness.

The figures given at the time showed that five of those who caught Covid inside a HHFT hospital died after becoming infected.

The trust has declined to say whether this situation has now improved.

Dr Nicki Hutchinson, consultant microbiologist and medical director for family and clinical support services, explained what the trust is doing to prevent the spread of Covid-19 inside the trust’s hospitals at Basingstoke, Winchester, and Andover.

She said: “Alongside many other trusts we have had a number of cases of hospital acquired infection during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not always possible to determine how these occur, not least due to the varied incubation period the virus has, but each is carefully investigated.

“At Hampshire Hospitals a range of measures including tighter visiting restrictions, increased testing for patients (we now test on day one, three and five of any non-elective admission and again every five days thereafter), installing advanced air scrubbers to support ventilation and invested heavily in technology so as to be able to offer virtual appointments wherever appropriate.

“We also ask staff to test themselves twice a week using lateral flow testing kits and are continuing to operate a rigorous and thorough cleaning regime across all our sites to help ensure any risk of transmission is kept to an absolute minimum.”