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Oxford University Blames NHS Cuts For 30,000 Deaths

Update Date: Feb 18, 2017 10:15 AM EST
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Oxford University research blamed 'relentless cuts' to the health service were responsible for 30,000 deaths in 2015. The two articles were published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The Government had refuted the claims and called the research bias.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Oxford and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council said in the report that 2015 had the greatest rise in mortality for almost 50 years in England and Wales. The report showed the largest spike was in January.

According to Daily Mail researchers examined data from the Office for National Statistics. They looked into the cause of deaths, including data inaccuracies, major epidemics and environmental shock such as war, weather or a natural disaster.

They concluded that evidence showed a major failure of the health system and social care that lead to longer waits for operations, ambulances and in A&E. The cuts had a great impact said Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Belfast Telegraph reported that the researchers have warned that without urgent intervention from the government, the mortality rates could continue to increase. However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health in England dismissed the reported and said variation in excess death rates was normal.

"This report is a triumph of personal bias over research - for two reasons," the spokesperson said. "Every year there is significant variation in reported excess deaths, and in the year following this study they fell by nearly 20,000, undermining any link between pressure on the NHS and the number of deaths.

They said the NHS budget rose by almost £15 billion between 2009-10 and 2014-15. But the researchers said in January 2015 all marker for NHS performance worsened markedly. They pointed out ambulance call out times being below target, no rise in A&E attendance, increased waiting times and operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons.

Waiting times hit record levels in December, it had the lowest percentage of patients seen within four hours. Doctors said conditions worsened due to overwhelming demand and bed shortages.

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