Deaths due to disrupted medical care quadrupled during the first lockdown, according to a study.
Oxford University hospitals investigators looked at 1,100 autopsies from seven areas of England for fatalities from a ‘potentially treatable condition’.
These were deaths where patients had struggled to access medical care, or died after being told to self-isolate.
A total of 44 out of 602 deaths (7.3 per cent) were put down to these issues during the first lockdown.
They included an asthma patient died after being told to self-isolate because they were experiencing chest pain, similar to Covid symptoms.
And a young diabetic patient who died from complications related to their condition after being told to stay at home because they had a fever and were vomiting.
For comparison, 10 out of 498 deaths (2 per cent) were put down to this two years beforehand.
Investigators warned of a ‘significant increase’ in deaths linked to trouble accessing medical care, and said many of these patients would normally have gone to hospital.
Responding to the study, MPs said it was clear the country will be ‘living with’ the side-effects of the Covid pandemic for many years.
Experts have repeatedly raised concerns lockdowns would trigger an uptick in deaths due to non-Covid causes, but this is believed to be the first study to confirm a link looking at autopsy reports.
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