Thank you for contacting me about the debate on excess deaths in Parliament on Friday 20th October, opened by Andrew Bridgen MP. Adjournment Debates are generally not well attended as they come at the end of the day’s main business and do not include a vote. Furthermore, most MPs are back working in their constituencies on a Friday, myself included.
I am aware of the report on excess deaths (the number of deaths above the five-year average) published by the Office of National Statistics and I understand your concerns. I am assured that the Government is taking steps to reduce excess deaths, and intends to publish a Major Conditions Strategy to tackle conditions that contribute most to morbidity and mortality across the population in England including: cancers; cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes; chronic respiratory diseases; dementia; mental ill health; and musculoskeletal conditions.
Clearly, the disruption caused by Covid-19 has had a significant impact on those people who were living with cancer and other major conditions. The Government is taking steps to reduce excess deaths due to these conditions, including through a delivery plan setting out how the NHS will expand elective services over the next three years.
The Government is also preparing for variants of Covid-19 and influenza through the Covid-19 booster and flu vaccination programmes, minimising hospital admissions from both viruses. Any Covid-19 vaccine that is approved must go through rigorous clinical trials and safety checks. Millions of people have been given a Covid-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. Data has shown that the vast majority of reported side effects are mild and in line with most types of vaccine, including the seasonal flu vaccine.
I shall continue to monitor this issue closely.