Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Researchers exploring why there has been a substantial increase in mortality in England and Wales in 2015 conclude that failures in the health and social care system linked to disinvestment are likely to be the main cause.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

There were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015, representing the largest increase in deaths in the post-war period. The excess deaths, which included a large spike in January that year, were largely in the older population who are most dependent on health and social care. Reporting their analysis in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the researchers from the University of Oxford with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,  and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, tested four possible explanations for the January 2015 spike in mortality.

 After ruling out data errors, cold weather and flu as main causes for the spike, the researchers found that NHS performance data revealed clear evidence of health system failures. Almost all targets were missed including ambulance call-out times and A&E waiting times, despite unexceptional A&E attendances compared to the same month in previous years. Staff absence rates rose and more posts remained empty as staff had not been appointed.

Read more

Similar stories

Singula Bio, a new Oxford spin-out company - Cancer need not be fatal

General Innovation Research

Singula Bio, a bold new seed-stage biotechnology company spun out of Oxford University, has been launched with the intention of helping show that cancer need not be fatal. Led by three Oxford cancer specialists, the firm is aims to become a world leader in therapies to use against difficult-to-treat solid malignancies such as ovarian cancer - using the body’s own immune system to fight previously fatal cancers.

Major rise in public support for COVID vaccine – Oxford study

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

More than three quarters of people in the UK now say they are ’very likely’ to have the vaccine – up from 50% among the same group of survey respondents five months ago –according to a two-wave Oxford University survey published today.

Coronavirus vaccination linked to substantial reduction in hospitalisation, real-world data suggests

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

The first study to describe the effects in real-world communities of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine has been reported in a pre-print publication today, showing a clear reduction in the risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19 amongst those who have received the vaccine.

Reprogramming tumour cells using an antimalarial drug

General Research

Results from the ATOM clinical trial at the University of Oxford have shown that the anti-malarial drug Atovaquone can reduce very low oxygen tumour environments. This has the potential to make cancers behave less aggressively and to improve the impact of everyday cancer treatments.

Oxford-led technology to help those at high risk from Covid-19

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

More people in England at high risk from Covid-19 will get priority access to vaccines thanks to new technology developed by a University of Oxford-led team of researchers that can identify those who may be most vulnerable to the virus.