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Hundreds more middle-aged adults dying a month since Covid pandemic

Hundreds more middle-aged adults have been dying each month since the end of the pandemic, as obesity and NHS backlogs drive a surge in excess deaths.

New analysis of official statistics has revealed that there were an extra 28,000 deaths in the UK during the first six months of 2023, compared with levels in the previous five years.

The biggest rise in unexpected deaths has been among adults aged 50 to 64, who are increasingly dying prematurely from preventable conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

The Covid inquiry is now being urged to shift its focus from “tactical decisions made by politicians” and to examine the lasting disruption that has kept deaths persistently high since the virus peaked.

Experts believe that difficulties in accessing GPs since lockdown and record NHS waiting lists mean that middle-aged patients are missing out on life-saving preventative treatment such as blood pressure medication. Unhealthy lifestyles, obesity and widening health inequalities are also contributing to a rise in avoidable deaths.

Professor Yvonne Doyle, who led Public Health England during the pandemic, warned that the official Covid inquiry risks “missing the point” by focusing on the drama and WhatsApps of Westminster politicians. In an article for The Times, Doyle, who gave evidence to the inquiry six weeks ago, says that the tens of thousands of excess deaths since Covid “represent an underlying pandemic of ill health” that should be addressed.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 13 December 2023


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