Looking back, her daughter Tracy bitterly regrets that she ever went in.
“I wouldn’t send a dog there, and that is truthful. I mean, mum always said to me, ‘If I go into Tameside, love, I won’t be coming out alive.’ And you know what, she was right.”
In what now appears to be a grave error, Mrs Hale, 79, was put on Ward 42 with several coronavirus patients.
After five days, the hospital called saying they were concerned the grandmother would catch the disease herself.
“They said, ‘We’ve got to send her home because she’s on a ward with Covid patients…we’re worried that she’s going to catch it’,” Tracy recalls. It was the first she knew of her mother being on a mixed ward. Jean was not tested before being discharged back home to her 82-year-old husband Bill.
Tracy believes that her mother caught the disease in hospital and subsequently passed it on to her father during her brief visit home.
Bill survived, but Jean was less fortunate. After around a week on the Emergency Orthopaedic Unit, she was put on the “end of life pathway” and died the following week.
Her daughter feels that the hospital is to blame. “People are dying unnecessarily”, she said.
Unfortunately, this appears not to be an isolated incident.
The Telegraph has spoken to more than 20 people who were treated at Tameside Hospital, or who had relatives admitted there, and have concerns about the way the hospital has responded during the pandemic.
A picture has emerged of an institution struggling to meet NHS guidance that is designed to stop the virus from spreading.
Tameside, situated near Greater Manchester, has recorded dozens of patients who had caught the potentially deadly virus after being treated there. Analysis by the Telegraph has found that out of those treated for Covid-19 at the Trust, some 38 per cent died.
It is possible that population demographics can account for some of these deaths – Tameside is the 34th out of the 326 most deprived local authorities, and has the highest premature death rate for heart disease in England – both risk factors in the pandemic.
Even taking these into account, NHS England figures show that 100 of the patients Tameside treated for Covid-19 caught the disease there – more than a fifth of its total number of Covid-19 patients.
During one deadly week in September, 18 hospital patients caught the virus in hospital, including seven in a single day.