NHS boss gets covid numbers wrong: ‘a transcription error’

STEVEN DOWNES, Editor, reports on a crass piece of misinformation over coronavirus provided by the most senior NHS executive in Croydon

Matthew Kershaw: got the number of covid positives in Croydon badly wrong

Matthew Kershaw, the chief executive of Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, last week provided the council’s scrutiny committee with incorrect figures for the number of coronavirus positive cases in the borough, Inside Croydon has confirmed.

Kershaw presented a written report which claimed that there had been more than 100,000 cases “in the borough”. The figure was not challenged at the time by the committee of elected councillors, chaired by Sean Fitzsimons. That figure was then reproduced by this website.

The figure is about 25 times more than the accurate statistics for Croydon.

When challenged by Inside Croydon over the figure, NHS Croydon claimed, “It was a transcription error.” No apology was offered by Kershaw for the serious error, nor did Kershaw respond to our request for a comment.

As we reported earlier this week, the 101,225 positive cases “in the borough”, as quoted in Kershaw’s report, “appears to be a remarkable figure, since assuming there have been very few instances of individuals testing positive for the virus multiple times, it suggests that 1 in 4 people in Croydon have tested positive for the virus.”

How Kershaw’s report to the council provided a gross exaggeration of covid cases in the borough. The misleading report was still on the council website last night

As many loyal readers were quick to observe, the numbers just did not stack up.

“It’s over 7 per cent of the UK total,” one reader commented. “Seems very and improbably high. The Croydon figure published is plainly out of kilter and the NHS Trust is way off.”

Another said, “The current estimate of active cases for the whole of London since March is quoted by the BBC as being around 1.15million out of the population of 8.96million. No way has Croydon, although one of the largest of the 33 London boroughs, contributed 8.7 per cent of this number.”

It took officials at the NHS in Croydon more than a day to get back to iC after we questioned their figures.

Without anything resembling an apology, a local NHS press officer said, “It was an error.

“The 101,225 figure was the total number of confirmed cases in London published on November 2. The figure published for Croydon on 2 November was 4,011.”

The latest, and accurate, figures in Croydon, taken from the government website today

As another loyal reader emailed to say, “It’s an easy mistake to make.

“There are nearly 400,000 residents in Croydon. With 100,000 confirmed cases. When the highest covid-19 infection rate in the world is 25,000 per 100,000.

“Currently, Hull is the highest in England with 776 cases per 100,000.

“But this pales into insignificance  with Croydon, which according to the local NHS is 3200 per cent higher than Hull

“How much do these morons get paid?”

According to the latest data, correct to November 17, there have been 5,067 positive cases in Croydon, with 109 of those reported yesterday. Croydon’s rate per 100,000 residents is 147.9 – significantly less than Hull (Note: it appears that there were no figures collected for November 16, however).

The government’s latest coronavirus figures, including borough-level data, can be found here. Which is probably more reliable than anything you might get from Matthew Kershaw.

Editor’s comment: I apologise to our readers for publishing the NHS’s report and misleading figures without challenging the numbers first. I realise that this may have caused alarm and concern to readers, for which I am sorry. This came below the high standard of journalism we constantly aspire to.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Croydon CCG, Croydon NHS Trust, Health, Matthew Kershaw, Sean Fitzsimons and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to NHS boss gets covid numbers wrong: ‘a transcription error’

  1. Michael Hembest says:

    Given the enormous amount of good the hospital has done for our community, I shall forgive this problem figure which I believe was for the whole of London.

  2. moyagordon says:

    Dear oh dear! Doesn’t inspire confidence.

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