What is it about?

The year 2015 witnessed the largest increase in deaths over the previous year in almost five decades. Since 2011 deaths in the UK have been rising far faster than previous actuarial forecasts were deemed possible. This article looks at the year-on-year changes in deaths in England and Wales since 1964 and uses mid-year data from 2018 to forecast the likely range in year-end deaths for 2018. Even the minimum expected deaths in 2018 will be the highest since 1999 in males and 2003 in females.

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Why is it important?

The absolute number of deaths is vitally important due to the nearness to death effect. Basically, the bulk of a persons lifetime use of health and social care occurs in the last year of life, with acute services especially accessed during the last 6 months of life - irrespective of the age at death. Current models for healthcare resource usage wrongly assume that all demand rises with age. Hence the very high number of deaths forecast for 2018 indicates that it will be a high-cost year for both health and social care.

Perspectives

Health and social care are being blamed for cost pressures arising from unexplained rising deaths, based on flawed models which suggest that costs arise solely from age. Which has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a fallacy. Contrary to the mid-year position the full year out-turn was lower than expected due to a sudden shift to lower deaths across the entire UK. Most importantly what caused this sudden shift down? A full list of publications on this topic is available at http://www.hcaf.biz/2010/Publications_Full.pdf

Dr Rodney P Jones
Healthcare Analysis & Forecasting

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This page is a summary of: Will 2018 set a record for deaths?, British Journal of Healthcare Management, September 2018, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/bjhc.2018.24.9.464.
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