‘A substantial number of nurses’ have died of COVID-19, says RCN

At least 190 health and social care workers are now thought to have died of COVID-19.

James McKay
6 May 2020

Mortality data is collected by the NHS but not routinely published.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has today said that ‘a substantial number of nurses’ have died of COVID-19 but says it is unable to provide a definitive figure.


In an interview with SkyNews earlier today, Dame Donna Kinnair was asked how many of the 140 NHS staff deaths due to COVID-19 are nurses.

She responded; “We don’t know how that breaks down as the figures are collected by the NHS and I know they are the ones that have those figures”.

“There will be a substantial number of nurses in that figure, every keyworker, whether you are a bus driver, a nurse, a doctor, that is somebody’s relative, somebody’s sister – it’s heartbreaking for all of us as keyworkers to suffer any loss”.

“That number is significant to us.”


When quizzed if the number of healthcare workers’ deaths is due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), Dame Kinnair incorrectly commented that no healthcare workers from specialist COVID-19 wards or intensive care units have died of the virus.

At least 190 health and social care workers are now thought to have died of COVID-19, with 55 of these being registered nurses and 32 in acute secondary care services.

She added; “Where staff are working in units with the highest rates of infection, such as ITU, we have not seen any deaths in those units of healthcare workers; doctors, nurses, or other members.

“So, we do know it’s not in the units where they are properly protected with personal protection equipment – it is in other places they are contracting the Coronavirus.”


“Where they have got proper PPE they are not getting infected, but elsewhere they possibly are.”

Since publication, an RCN spokesperson added: “We have been calling on the Government to publish full and accurate reports of all health and care workers deaths, a demand our chief executive Donna Kinnair put straight to the Health Secretary on Question Time in April. We know there have been inaccurate reports in the media so until government figures are verified, we will wish to remain respectful.”
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments