Coronavirus: More than 500 Covid-19 discharged from Royal Free NHS Trust, but death toll passes 400

Royal Free nurses Chito Gabutin, ward manager, and Sandra Leal, a junior sister. Their ward has been

Royal Free nurses Chito Gabutin, ward manager, and Sandra Leal, a junior sister. Their ward has been pinning butterflies to a mural to mark when patients recover from Covid-19. Picture: Royal Free NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

More than 500 Covid-19 patients have been discharged from the Royal Free NHS Trust’s hospitals in Hampstead and Barnet, the hospital confirmed on Wednesday.

The trust told the Ham&High a total of 517 patients have made a successful recovery from the coronavirus and been sent home from the Royal Free or Barnet Hospital – and between Monday April 13 and Sunday April 19, 132 patients were discharged.

This comes as the latest NHS England figures show 401 coronavirus patients have died at the trust, making it one of the worst hit in the country.

But these statistics, which are subject to change, showed just three fatalities at the Royal Free Trust on Monday and two on Tueday.

April 7 alone saw 30 recorded.

Kate Slemeck, chief exec of the Royal Free Hospital, said: “Our staff tell us that seeing patients go home gives a great feeling of positivity and pleasure.

“Staff are also very aware that not every family will get their loved one home but recognise the importance of celebrating stories of recovery to give people real hope during these very challenging times.”

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One ward at the Pond Street hospital has even begun pinning butterflies to a striking mural to celebrate each time a patient is discharged.

Chito Gabutin, who manages the elderly care ward where the butterflies are becoming ever-more numerous, said: “Our elderly patients, many of whom have had Covid-19, are still fighting, still recovering and they are still going home. This wall of butterflies has really caught people’s attention.

“No-one wants to be in hospital and it’s the best feeling when you get to go home. I think that this really captures that feeling.”

Thanking the hospital trust’s staff, Deborah Sanders, chief executive of Barnet Hospital and chief nursing officer, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to see so many of our patients, many of whom have been extremely poorly, go back to their homes.”

This week, the Royal Free’s director of nursing Rebecca Longmate also told us the trust was discharging “20 to 30 people a day”.

The NHS England figures for hospital deaths could change as more recent reports are validated and registered in post-mortem examinations. At the time of writing, the national death toll from coronavirus in hospitals is 18,100.