Pandemic drove up South Tyne 'excess death' figures

Hundreds more deaths than expected have been recorded in South Tyneside since the coronavirus pandemic began, new figures show.

Excess death figures rise.
Excess death figures rise.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show South Tyneside recorded 280 more deaths between March 2020 and June 2022 than the five-year average would suggest.

This was 6.9% more deaths than were expected over this time period – but the excess death rate was below the 11.1% average for England and Wales.

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Across the two nations, 137,447 more deaths were registered over the 28-month period than expected compared with previous years.

In South Tyneside, the month with the highest excess deaths was May 2020, when they were 65.4% above normal – but May 2021 saw deaths 16.5% below usual levels.

The King's Fund health think tank warned that excess deaths could climb this winter and called on the Government to take action.

Dr Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at the think tank, said: "NHS services were already stretched prior to the pandemic and are now facing unprecedented pressures with a backlog of almost seven million people waiting for planned care.

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"If the Government wants to forestall the risk of excess deaths climbing again, ministers must take steps now to ensure good uptake of the Covid-19 and flu vaccines, and that the NHS has the workforce and resources to cope with winter pressures.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said its world-leading vaccination programme continues to save lives, with all those over 50 being offered jabs for both Covid and flu.