Tatton MP Esther McVey has called for an “urgent and thorough” investigation into the number of excess deaths in England and Wales - as figures hit a two year high.
According to the Office of National Statistics, there were 17,381 deaths registered in the seven days to January 13 – 2,837 above average for this time of year.
Speaking in Health Questions in Parliament Ms McVey said: “The chief medical officer recently warned that non-covid excess deaths are being driven in part by patients not getting statins or blood pressure medicines during the pandemic.
“However, when looking at the data on statins on OpenPrescribing.net, which is based on monthly NHS prescribing, there appears not to be a drop. Where is the evidence? If there is none, what is causing these excess deaths?”.
Ms McVey said government should commit to an urgent and thorough investigation on the matter and publish its findings.
Health Minister Maria Caulfield said: “We are seeing an increase in excess deaths in this country, but we are also seeing that in Wales, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland and across Europe. There is a range of factors.
“As we saw, there was an increase in December in the number of people being admitted with flu, covid and other healthcare conditions. That was seen not just in this country, but across Europe.”
Ms McVey has written to the Department for Health asking for more information.
She added: “It is essential we know why people are dying so we can act to prevent any unnecessary deaths. I am confused as to why we are told it was in part patients not getting statins or blood pressure medications when there does not appear to be any decrease in the numbers being prescribed.”
The figures from the ONS are the highest number of excess deaths since the seven days to February 12, 2021, when the country was experiencing its second wave of Covid-19 infections. At that time the vaccination programme had just been rolled out.