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Editorials

Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1090 (Published 14 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1090

Re: Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018

We recently wrote an editorial in the BMJ repeating many previous calls for an investigation into rising deaths in England and Wales.(1) By week 7 of 2018, 10,000 more people had died than the average of the last five years. We showed that neither ‘flu, nor cold weather appeared to be the main cause.

The latest Office for National Statistics data on weekly provisional deaths in England and Wales sadly provide little reassurance of this being a ‘blip’ as some have suggested. By the end of week number 16 (week ending 20 April), 20,215 more people have died than the average for the last 5 years.(2) Yet, still, no action taken or even mention of a possible investigation has been heard from the Department of Health and Social Care. How many deaths will it take for the Government to take note?

References:
1. Hiam, L. Dorling, D. Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018. BMJ 2018;360:k1090
2. Office for National Statistics. Weekly provisional deaths for England and Wales. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarri... (last updated 1 May 2018; accessed 7 May 2018)

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 May 2018
Lucinda Hiam
Honorary research fellow
Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine