Excess deaths climbed to one of the highest levels outside of the pandemic in the last 50 years, new data has shown.
In total, more than 650,000 deaths were registered in the UK in 2022 – 9% higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
In the last six months alone, deaths were 35,000 higher than the average of the previous five years. What’s more, in the final two weeks of 2022, excess deaths were some 20% higher than the average.
Deaths registered per week from all causes are helpfully illustrated by the below graph, showing deaths comfortably above the five-year average for much of the last year.
This rise cannot be explained alone by the c. 38,000 Covid-related deaths in 2022. Rather, pandemic effects on health and NHS pressures are thought to also be contributing factors.
Indeed, deaths in the first six months of 2022 were roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels. They began to rise in June, coinciding with waiting times for ambulances, hospital beds, and A&E care all soaring. The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has subsequently stated the crisis in urgent care could be causing as many as 500 deaths per week.