Excess deaths winter 2022: 20 areas in England and Wales recording the biggest increase in deaths right now

Dozens of council areas have seen deaths rise by over 50% compared to the pre-Covid average during the festive period, according to ONS figures.

Thousands more deaths were recorded across England and Wales over Christmas and New Year compared to before Covid, with dozens of local council areas recording spikes of over 50%.

Exclusive analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data by NationalWorld has revealed that Northern and Midlands regions of England are being worse hit by excess winter deaths than the South. In the two weeks to 30 December, 4,521 extra people died across England and Wales when compared to the average between 2015 and 2019. It was also 2,534 more deaths than during 2021.

But excess mortality was higher in the North and Midlands, with deaths up by 26.1% and 25.1% respectively, compared to 19.8% in the South. Wales saw a bigger increase in deaths than England (28.7% versus 22.9%), although the Welsh Government has cautioned against drawing conclusions from short periods of time.

Labour Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy described the disparity across England’s regions as “unconscionable”, and a health expert from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the current NHS crisis was likely a factor.

But some areas outside of the North and Midlands are among those recording the largest individual rises, including in Essex, the South West and London. Many Welsh council areas are also among the worst-hit places.

The analysis comes as concerns mount about the impact of the crisis gripping the NHS this winter, which doctors have described as the worst they have ever experienced. Hospitals in England have been dangerously busy over the Christmas period, hundreds of thousands of callers have abandoned their attempts to contact NHS 111 amid levels of demand not seen since the start of the Covid pandemic, and tens of thousands of patients have faced delays at A&E after being taken to hospital by ambulance.

NationalWorld has analysed the ONS figures to find the 20 councils with the biggest spike in deaths in the two weeks to 30 December. This is known as week 52, and is compared to the average for week 52 between 2015 and 2019, although the exact dates this period covers will vary by year.

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