At the end of 2022 a sharp rise in excess deaths was recorded in England and Wales with a mixture of flu, cold weather and lack of access to emergency care contributed to the spike in deaths.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of registered deaths was 20% above average in the week ending 30 December, and in the week to 23 December it was 21% above average.
Experts have said it is “complex” and warned against “simplistic” explanations as further investigations are required.
According to the ONS, in the week to 30 December deaths which involved flu and pneumonia have “increased in recent weeks,” account for 22% of all the deaths registered in England and Wales.
Dr Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at the health charity The King’s Fund, said, “The numbers of deaths will be affected by a range of other factors including the cold weather spell in December, the availability of services including emergency care, and the continued effects of some patients’ healthcare needs going unmet during the pandemic,” she added.
“As the picture is complex, simplistic explanations about the causes of rising excess deaths since summer 2022, and in particular about the latest data, are unhelpful.
“Detailed data analyses by the ONS, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, NHS England and other agencies are needed to establish what’s driving the current increase in excess deaths.”