Nuffield Trust: Sustained increase in deaths registered at home leaves unanswered questions

Sarah Scobie responds to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

Press release

Published: 20/10/2020

Responding to the Office for National Statistics data, Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 9 October 2020, the Nuffield Trust deputy director of research Sarah Scobie said:

“As more areas of the country prepare to face stricter curbs on socialising, it is not a surprise that we see the number of deaths registered attributed to Covid-19 creep upwards. The North West of England, currently subject to the highest level of measures, accounts for the largest share of this increase. Sadly, we can only expect this trend to continue over the coming weeks and months, as more cases translate into hospitalisations.

“Deaths registered at home continue to be much higher than expected. We have now seen an additional 29,000 deaths at home since March. ONS analysis suggests many of these deaths would usually have taken place in care or hospital settings. Supporting people to die at home with their loved ones around them has been an important policy objective for many years. But we need to delve deeper to understand the role that patient choice or reluctance to access health services play in this stark increase, and whether patients and families are getting the help and support they need at home.”

Notes to editors

The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Simon Keen on 07780 475571 or