• London North West University Healthcare Trust has highest number of covid-19 deaths in London and second highest in England
  • Medical director says elderly population with multiple long-term conditions especially vulnerable
  • University Hospitals Birmingham FT has highest total in the country, as of 8 April

The London hospital trust with the most covid-19 deaths has said the population it serves is “especially vulnerable” to the virus.

London North West University Healthcare Trust, which runs Northwick Park Hospital on the borders of Harrow and Brent, has reported 209 deaths with covid-19 so far, with the first on 13 March. Northwick Park declared a critical incident because of a surge of coronavirus patients on 20 March

University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust has the highest total coronavirus deaths in the country so far, with 306 as of 5pm on 8 April.

LNWH medical director Martin Kuper told HSJ: “The trust was one of the first designated hospitals to take covid-19 patients because of the size and expertise of its infectious diseases unit.

“Our communities are home to a large and ethnically diverse population including many elderly people with one or more long-term health conditions that make them especially vulnerable to covid-19.”

The London Borough of Brent has had the highest number of covid-19 cases in London so far, with 853 recorded as of 8 April. Harrow has had 530.

Dr Kuper added: “This, together with the fact that it has one of London’s largest and busiest [accident and emergency] departments, made it inevitable that we would be handling a large number of cases.

“Partners like the Royal Brompton and Harefield have been a huge help in taking a proportion of our critically ill patients, allowing us time to expand our capacity, particularly across north west London.”

Minutes of the trust’s January meeting said the organisation’s covid-19 plan had been tested in January. In February, it was designated a ‘surge’ trust with Northwick Park identified as a hub for treating these patients.

In its 25 March meeting, chief executive Jacqueline Docherty noted the organisation was the first in England to provide community testing at the start of the outbreak.