Letters Sharp spike in deaths in England and Wales

Peak in deaths in 2015 is not a complete mystery

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1582 (Published 21 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1582
  1. John N Newton, chief knowledge officer1,
  2. Richard Pebody, head of respiratory diseases department (acting)1,
  3. Justine Fitzpatrick, head of epidemiology and surveillance (non-communicable disease)1
  1. 1Public Health England, Wellington House, London SE1 8UG, UK
  1. John.Newton{at}phe.gov.uk

In his otherwise balanced article on the rise in death registrations in 2015, Hawkes overstates the case when he says that “public health experts are left grasping for answers.”1

Numbers of deaths fluctuate from year to year and have done for decades.2 They also vary markedly during the year owing …

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