Intended for healthcare professionals


Avoidable deaths: falling in England; stalled in Scotland and Wales; and up in Northern Ireland

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 22 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l860
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London, UK

Avoidable deaths in the UK fell significantly in 2017 compared with the previous year, but the improvement was largely because of trends in England, the only constituent part of the UK to show a statistically significant fall.1

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland not only had much higher rates of avoidable deaths to begin with, but showed decreases that failed to reach statistical significance (Scotland and Wales) or an actual increase (Northern Ireland).

The new data, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), cannot be compared with NHS statistics of avoidable deaths in hospital, which are defined differently.

The ONS definition, first used in 2014, characterises deaths in three categories—amenable for …

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