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

Drug could help diabetic hearts recover after heart attack - Oxford research

Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified a drug that could ultimately help improve heart function in people with diabetes who have heart attacks.

Largest ever global study of tuberculosis identifies genetic causes of drug resistance

Using cutting-edge genomic sequencing techniques, researchers at the University of Oxford have identified almost all the genomic variation that gives people resistance to 13 of the most common tuberculosis (TB) drug treatments.

Researchers set out steps to address mental health effects of the pandemic on young people

Researchers have outlined 14 steps that schools, mental health services and policymakers can take to help children and young people whose mental health has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anti-cancer drug derived from fungus shows promise in clinical trials

A new industry-academic partnership between the University of Oxford and biopharmaceutical company NuCana as found that chemotherapy drug NUC-7738, derived from a Himalayan fungus, has 40 times greater potency for killing cancer cells than its parent compound.

No benefit of convalescent plasma for critically ill COVID-19 patients

A large study of over 2000 COVID-19 patients has found that giving critically ill patients blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients did not significantly reduce deaths, or the need for intensive care support such as being put on a ventilator machine.

Increased infectiousness of coronavirus variants explained

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Dundee have made a discovery that helps explain why variations in the virus causes COVID-19 to spread so rapidly.