By Bill Heaney
An inquiry into the cause of increased excess deaths in Scotland since the start of the pandemic has been launched by the COVID-19 Recovery Committee..
Recent data published by the the SNP/Green Party Scottish Government shows deaths in Scotland are 11% above the average for this time of year and have been above the average for the last 26 weeks. The Committee will investigate whether this rise in deaths is being caused by COVID-19 directly, or the indirect health effects of the pandemic.
The Committee is seeking views on the following questions:
• Has the public health emergency shifted from COVID-19 deaths to deaths from non-COVID-19 conditions?
• Is there evidence that patients are now presenting with greater acuity?
• What accounts for the deaths from non-COVID-19 conditions?
• Is there enough of a strategic focus on the indirect health impacts of the pandemic?
• What are the realistic options open to the government in addressing the indirect health impact of the virus in winter 2021/22?
Speaking as the inquiry was launched, Siobhian Brown MSP, Convener of the COVID-19 Recovery Committee said: “The latest data released by the Scottish Government shows an alarming rise in the number of excess deaths since the start of the pandemic.
“Recent media reports suggest the pandemic has led to delays and decreases in the number of patients being diagnosed with illnesses, such as cancers, which can negatively impact the efficacy of treatment. We are keen to learn more about the indirect health impacts of the pandemic and whether the public health emergency has shifted from COVID-19 deaths to deaths from non-COVID-19 conditions.
“Every death is a tragedy, whether caused by COVID-19 or not, and it is essential that we establish the root causes of these deaths and find out what has led to this spike in the number of lives being lost.”
Let the Committee know your views here: https://yourviews.parliament.scot/covid19/excess-deaths-covid19-pandemic