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Health chiefs are failing to investigate a clear pattern of rising death rates and worsening health outcomes in England and Wales, argue experts in The BMJ, as the latest figures show more than 10,000 extra deaths in first weeks of 2018 compared with previous years.

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Lucinda Hiam at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Danny Dorling at the University of Oxford say weekly mortality figures show 10,375 additional deaths (a rise of 12.4%) in England and Wales in the first seven weeks of 2018 compared with the previous five years.

This rise cannot be explained by ageing of the population, a flu epidemic, or cold weather - and no official explanation has been forthcoming as to why death rates have continued to be so high relative to previous trends, they write.

Find out more (University of Oxford website)

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