There were 2,393 deaths at homes in Dorset between the start of 2020 and August 20 this year, figures from the ONS show
Bosses at a Dorset hospital are urging people not to visit unless they are in a ‘life-threatening situation’, as new figures reveal more people have died at home in Dorset during the pandemic than in the years before it.
Dorset County Hospital issued a plea yesterday as bosses warned that the hospital ‘continues to be extremely busy’ and urged people only to use the emergency department (ED) if they are experiencing a ‘serious of life-threatening situation’.
A spokesman wrote on Twitter: Our hospital continues to be extremely busy. Please only use our emergency department for serious or life-threatening situations. If you’re unwell and are unsure about where to go, visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111.
The plea came as end of life charity Marie Curie said many people avoided hospitals during the pandemic because they wanted to protect the NHS or feared catching coronavirus.
There were 2,393 deaths at homes in Dorset between the start of 2020 and August 20 this year, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
Of those, 1,510 occurred last year – 367 more than the annual average of 1,143 recorded between 2015 and 2019.
There have been 883 deaths at private homes so far in 2021, compared to an average of 743 for the same period in pre-pandemic years.
Across England and Wales, there were nearly 99,000 deaths at home in the first 33 weeks of 2021 – 23 per cent more than the five-year average.
By contrast, hospitals saw a three per cent drop, and care homes a five per cent drop.
Nearly one per cent of the deaths at private homes in Dorset had any mention of Covid-19 on the death certificate, compared to three per cent nationally.
Sam Royston, director of policy and research at Marie Curie, said: A higher proportion of deaths last year happened at home as people responded to the government advice which was to protect the NHS by staying at home to save lives.
Many people nearing the end of their lives or living with a terminal illness were fearful of going into hospital and potentially catching the virus, not being able to see their loved ones, and sadly the possibility of dying alone, Royston said.
A spokesperson for NHS Dorset CCG said: We anticipate studies into the impact of Covid-19 will take place over the coming years which will give more insight into the effect of the pandemic.
Given that the pandemic is ongoing, NHS Dorset CCG would not wish to speculate on the reasons behind the ONS data at this time, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said: Our current focus is on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, rolling out the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine, recovering services and waiting lists, and supporting our staff.
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