Closed petition Investigate UK excess deaths not related to Covid.

On the week ending the 28th of October the ONS reported excess deaths were 12.5% above the 5 year average. With only 717 deaths out of 12,861 involving Covid. This alarming excess death percentage, needs investigating by the Government and the root causes laid out in a public report.

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Commission an independent investigation to look into the underlying causes that have led to and continue to contribute to such a high number of excess deaths in the UK, as a matter of urgency. We fear the trend of high excess deaths will continue, so root causes must be ascertained so that action can be taken to bring excess deaths down.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 February 2023

A combination of factors has contributed to the number of excess deaths. The government is taking steps to address this and will announce further detail in the forthcoming Major Conditions Strategy.

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Our analysis suggests that it is likely that a combination of factors has contributed to an increase in the number of non-Covid excess deaths in the latter part of 2022, including high flu prevalence and health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

There are a range of organisations reviewing the registered death figures. These produce different estimates of excess deaths based on different methodologies and areas covered.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) estimates differ as they use different methodologies and cover different geographies:

• The ONS excess is calculated by comparing the number of deaths registered in a week with the average number registered in the equivalent week in 5 earlier years. For 2022, the comparison is with deaths registered in 2016 to 2019 and 2021.

• OHID compares the number of registered deaths in a week with the number expected based on the trend in mortality rates in the years 2015 to 2019. This method takes into account population growth and ageing. OHID analysis is just for England.

OHID analysis shows that, in England, for the week ending 28 October, the leading causes of death contributing to the excess were deaths involving cardiovascular diseases; the highest levels of excess mortality were for deaths involving heart failure (21% higher than expected), and ischaemic heart diseases (17% higher than expected). Deaths involving acute respiratory infections were 16% higher than expected. Deaths involving cancer, Parkinson’s disease, other respiratory diseases, and dementia and Alzheimer’s were lower than expected. You can view OHID’s excess mortality tool here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/excess-mortality-in-england-and-english-regions.

OHID estimates show that for deaths registered in England during the whole of 2022, deaths involving four conditions were all over 10% higher than expected: heart failure (15% higher), cirrhosis and other liver diseases (14%), diabetes (12%) and ischaemic heart diseases (11%).

We are taking steps to help reduce excess deaths. Based on the current rate of recovery, we expect NHS Health Check delivery, a core part of our cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention pathway, to return to pre-pandemic levels by June 2023 and we are creating a national digital check so we can go even further. The Department of Health and Social Care continues to work closely with partners to consider what more can be done to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis and management of CVD and we will set out our plan in the Major Conditions Strategy.

Our Major Conditions Strategy will focus on preventing the major conditions which contribute to early mortality and reduce years of good health including heart disease, stroke and diabetes and tackling the factors that drive these. For further information, click here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2023-01-24/hcws514.

We know that when people have heart attacks and strokes they need urgent care. That is why we have set an ambition in the recently published delivery plan for recovering urgent and emergency care services for ambulances getting to patients quicker: with improved ambulance response times for Category 2 incidents to 30 minutes on average over 2023/24, with further improvement in 2024/25 towards pre-pandemic levels. For further information, click here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2023/01/major-plan-to-recover-urgent-and-emergency-care-services/.

The NHS has published a delivery plan setting out a clear vision for how the NHS will recover and expand elective services over the next three years. The plan commits the NHS to deliver 9 million additional treatments and diagnostic procedures over the next three years and around 30 per cent more elective activity than it was doing before the pandemic by 2024-25. Through the pathway improvement programme, we will create extra capacity for elective care and improve patient health outcomes. For further information, click here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/delivery-plan-for-tackling-the-covid-19-backlog-of-elective-care/.

Department of Health and Social Care

Trends in excess deaths debated by MPs

On Friday 20 October, MPs debated trends in excess deaths in the House of Commons. This was an Adjournment debate, led by Andrew Bridgen MP. Maria Caulfield MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care responded on behalf of the Government.

What are Adjournment debates?

Adjournment debates are general debates which do not end in a vote. They give a backbench MP the opportunity to raise an issue and receive a response from a government minister.

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MPs debate trends in excess deaths

On Tuesday 16 January, MPs took part in a Westminster Hall debate on trends in excess deaths. The debate was led by Andrew Bridgen MP. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Maria Caulfield MP responded to the debate on behalf of the Government.

What is a Westminster Hall debate?

Westminster Hall is the second chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local and national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Westminster Hall debates are general debates that do not end in a vote.

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