(BBC) – Hundreds of patients were found to have Covid-19 after being admitted to hospital for other conditions, the Scottish government has confirmed.
A total of 908 patients were found with the infection and 218 of them died.
It is not clear at this stage if they acquired the infection in hospital, or in their community prior to admission.
Labour called for an inquiry while the Conservatives demanded an urgent statement from the health secretary after The Herald revealed the figures.
The Scottish government insisted it was being transparent but said it was necessary to properly validate figures before they were released.
On Thursday, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said there were 125 “incidents” of suspected Covid-19 transmission in hospital.
But the Herald reported a much higher figure after asking for the information from the government.
Opposition parties said they wanted to know if any of these people had been released into care homes after being in hospital.
Scottish Labour has called for an independent inquiry into what it called the “absolutely shocking” infection rate in hospitals and “lack of candour” from the government.
Health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said it was “scandalous” the scale of the infection spreading through hospitals had to be “dragged out” of the government.
She said: “These outbreaks coincide with older people being discharged from hospitals into care homes.
“An urgent independent inquiry is needed. We need to know how many of the patients who were infected in these hospital outbreaks were discharged into care homes, in the rush to empty the hospitals, and did any of them die from the infection.”
Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservatives’ health spokesman, said: “The health secretary must now answer if these deaths were known about prior to the mass exodus to care homes, how the virus spread within hospitals and if patients’ families have been informed fully.”
The Scottish government said any death related to Covid-19 was a tragedy and it was “working tirelessly” to reduce infection rates and support those affected.
A spokesman said: “Any claims that the Scottish government has sought to mislead or hide figures are utterly unfounded.
“We are committed to transparency and openness while ensuring that all figures that are published have first been robustly validated to ensure accuracy.”
The government said it was still working to establish validated data about healthcare-acquired infections and this would be published as soon as possible.