Recent studies have shown that many people did not seek help for serious conditions, such as heart attacks, in recent months.
Professor Karol Sikora, the Dean of Medicine at the University of Buckingham, said: “This is what concerns me so much. Excess deaths are below average in hospitals, but well above average in homes. Are people seeking the medical help they need for illnesses that aren’t coronavirus? Disruption to diagnosis, treatment and research will cost countless lives.”
Figures show that, in the last eight weeks of death registrations, 1,117 people were registered with Covid-19 on the death certificate but excess deaths at home were at 5,556 – suggesting the coronavirus response is now far more deadly than the virus.
Commenting on the figures, Colin Angus, a senior research scientist at the University of Sheffield, said: “This is certainly something we should be looking into.
“This could be deaths that would normally be happening at home, in which case this could be good – people dying at home on their own terms – or it could be bad, with people dying in pain at home unable to access appropriate palliative care.
“To be honest, I find it very surprising there hasn’t been more attention paid to this, since it seems a pretty fundamental shift in how we are dying and it doesn’t look like a short-term effect.”
Britain’s largest surgical college also warned of the “catastrophic” impact of pausing operations and interventions in the event of a second wave of coronavirus, with delayed surgery and diagnostics (the video below explains how cancer referrals hit a record low as the virus crisis grew) potentially leading to more avoidable deaths.