'The true death toll for Covid-19 is significantly higher than the numbers reported so far': The King's Fund responds to the ONS report on death registrations not involving Covid-19

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Responding to the latest Office for National Statistics report, Analysis of death registrations not associated with coronavirus (Covid-19), England and Wales: January 2020 to May 2020, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘This analysis confirms that the true death toll for Covid-19 is significantly higher than the numbers reported so far, with the majority of excess deaths likely linked to undiagnosed Covid-19. It also suggests that the pandemic has resulted in a number of deaths from other causes that would not have occurred if the country wasn’t dealing with a pandemic.

‘The report shows a significant spike in deaths attributed to dementia, which includes many care home residents whose lives may have been cut short by undiagnosed Covid-19. This once again highlights the tragic scale of avoidable deaths among people the government pledged to protect. Social care must never again be treated as an afterthought to the NHS but as an equal partner in an interdependent system.

‘This follows on closely from a review published earlier this week highlighting the disproportionate impact of the virus on some people, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds. These reports have shone a light on the human tragedy caused by two failures in policy-making – the deep inequalities that blight the nation’s health and the neglect of social care by successive governments. They should make sobering reading for ministers, health and care leaders and all of us.’

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on  07584 146035 or mediaoffice@kingsfund.org.uk.

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

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