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Hospital-acquired covid infections are rising again, with up to a third of covid cases in some trusts now for patients who were admitted for other illnesses.

In particular, The Royal Wolverhampton Trust and Yeovil District Hospital Foundation Trust have had major spikes in hospital-acquired infections in recent weeks.

In mid-August around a third of covid patients at Wolverhampton had probably caught the virus in hospital. The proportion of hospital-acquired covid was even higher at Yeovil at the start of the month, but this spike is now under control.

Infection control experts told HSJ these spikes were reflective of the “relentless pressure” being felt across the NHS.

While hospital-acquired covid cases, and their proportion of total cases, is still nowhere near the peak in January, these are both still rising — which does not bode well ahead of winter.

Another unwanted repeat

Another Care Quality Commission report exposing poor care within the independent mental health and learning disability inpatient sector has reared its head.

This week, Cygnet Health Care was chastised over its Appletree Hospital in Durham. The CQC handed the provider a warning notice following an inspection in May 2021. The notice repeated concerns the regulator raised in August last year.

The timing of this notice was interesting as it came just weeks after NHS England sent a letter to Cygnet Health Care’s executive board, warning it would not tolerate further failings.

At the time, NHSE confirmed the letter related to a handful of hospitals it directly commissions, but it is not clear whether the Appletree unit is one of these.

But what can NHSE, or even local commissioners, actually do if the failings continue? The state of bed pressures surely means decommissioning units is not a viable option.