As the NHS deals with intense winter pressures, new figures show that dozens more people have died in Buckinghamshire than would be expected in the last four weeks, according to the Bucks Free Press.
Health think tank, the King’s Fund, said the latest data, which shows a sharp fall in the number of excess deaths across England and Wales, is welcome after a winter hit by high flu numbers, still some Covid-19 deaths and an NHS under intense pressure following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Office for Health Improvement and Disparities figures show 133 deaths were registered in Buckinghamshire in the week to January 27, the most recent week for which data is available. Some 114 people were expected to die in that week, meaning 19 excess deaths were recorded, though this remains well below the two-year peak of 72 excess deaths in the week to January 29, 2021. Since the turn of the year, 62 excess deaths have been logged.
Across England, there were 548 excess deaths in the week to January 27 – a significant fall on the weekly average of 2,543 in the three weeks before the turn of the year. The 3,746 excess deaths recorded in the week to January 13 was the highest on record in almost two years, dating back to the 5,120 logged in the week to February 5, 2021.
Dr Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at the King’s Fund, said the recent fall is due in part to falling deaths from flu and Covid-19. Milder weather following cold spells in December and early January has also helped.
Dr Raleigh added: “However, this lull should not lead to complacency.
Emergency services remain under intense pressure and the NHS is also facing a rising backlog of care, with the waiting list now exceeding 7 million. The Department for Health and Social Care said the recent peak in excess deaths was caused by several factors, including high flu prevalence, cold weather, the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 and health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Image source: Bucks Free Press