NHS panics as morgues fill with thousands of non-Covid deaths – urgent investigation calls.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that over the past four months, England and Wales recorded 20,823 more deaths than the five-year average in the past 18 weeks. Only 11,531 deaths involved Covid. It means that about 45 percent of recent deaths were related to other causes.
Experts called for an urgent investigation into whether the deaths were preventable.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “I am calling for an urgent investigation.”
He continued: “If you look at where the excess is happening, it is in conditions like ischemic heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver and diabetes, all of which are potentially reversible.”
Concerned that this is not just a natural occurrence, he said: “This goes beyond just looking at gross numbers and death certificates. We need to go back and find out if these deaths have any preventable causes.”
With the NHS suffering from a huge backlog of patients, the professor told the Telegraph: “This could be the result of the lack of preventable care during the pandemic, and what happens after that.”
Calling for action to be taken, Professor Heneghan said: “We urgently need to understand what is going wrong and conduct root cause research to determine actions that can prevent further unnecessary deaths.”
Weekly figures for the week ending Nov. 5 showed there were 1,659 more deaths than would normally be expected at this time of year.
Of these, 700 were not caused by Covid.
The excess is likely to increase as more deaths are recorded in the coming weeks.
Data from the UK Health Safety Agency shows that there have been thousands more deaths than the five-year average in heart failure, heart disease, circulatory conditions and diabetes since the summer.
The number of deaths in private homes is also 40.9 percent above the five-year average, with an excess of 964 deaths recorded in the most recent week, running through Nov. 5.
Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at The Open University, said: “The number of deaths from all causes generally increases this time of year, but the total number remains above the corresponding week average in the five years 2015 to 2019. ”
The expert added: “So, in that definition, we still have an excess of deaths, as we have had for 18 weeks in a row, and not all of those excess deaths are due to COVID-19.”
The NHS is still fighting to eliminate the delay in treatment created by the pandemic, with one in 10 people in England (5.8 million) currently waiting for an elective procedure, the highest number ever recorded.
A report released this week by the Royal College of Nursing warned that more than 120,000 people had been forced to wait at least four hours in accident and emergency departments in October, an increase of more than 50 percent since October 2019.
Ambulances are also taking longer to reach patients, with heart attack sufferers now waiting an average of 53 minutes before help arrives, nearly three times the NHS target.
The number of patients treated in the corridors has increased ninefold since October 2019.
Research has previously said that the recent glut of non-Covid deaths was linked to an aging population, with more people expected to die this year than last.