More than 30,000 extra deaths at home in England and Wales during pandemic – ONS

A file photo of a funeral taking place
A file photo of a funeral taking place (PA Wire)
17:13pm, Tue 10 Nov 2020
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More than 30,000 extra deaths have taken place in private homes in England and Wales since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

Extra deaths – known as “excess deaths” – are the number of deaths that are above the average for the corresponding period in the previous five years.

A total of 31,684 excess deaths in homes in England and Wales were registered between March 7 and October 30, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Of this number, just 2,676 – or 8% – were deaths involving Covid-19.

HEALTH Coronavirus ExcessDeaths (PA Graphics)

The figures show there are still many more people than normal who are dying in their own home.

Deaths in private homes have been running at roughly the same level each week – around 700 to 900 above the five-year average – since the end of May.

By contrast, the number of deaths in care homes and hospitals during the same period has been mostly below the five-year average.

Previous analysis by the ONS found that deaths in private homes in England for males from heart disease, from the start of the coronavirus pandemic through to early September, were 26% higher than the five-year average, while prostate cancer deaths had increased 53%.

For women, deaths in private homes from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease had increased 75%, while deaths from breast cancer were up 47%.

Responding to the figures, Matthew Reed, chief executive at end-of-life charity Marie Curie, said: “We have seen the devastation this year in care homes, and in hospitals, and now I am fearful that a silent crisis is raging behind closed doors in people’s homes.

“I have written to the Health Secretary urging him to investigate the quality of care dying people are receiving in their homes. Excess deaths in private homes still remain very high. The funding care providers in the community receive has in no way reflected the increased numbers of people dying.

“There is insufficient information about what is happening to people dying at home, and many may not be receiving the pain relief, symptom control and hands-on care that they so desperately need and deserve in their final days. We only get one chance to get end-of-life care right for people.”

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