More people dying at home in Ipswich amid Covid impact, new figures show
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More people died at home in Ipswich during the coronavirus pandemic than in previous years.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 559 deaths at homes in Ipswich between the start of 2020 and August 20 this year.
In 2020, 347 people died at home, 67 more than the annual average of 280 recorded between 2015 and 2019.
So far in 2021 there have been 212 deaths at private homes, compared to an average of 175 for the same time period in pre-pandemic years.
Around 5% of the deaths at private homes in Ipswich had any mention of Covid-19 on the death certificate, compared to 3% nationally.
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Across England and Wales hospitals saw a 3% fall, and care homes a 5% fall in deaths.
Charity Marie Curie said concerns about catching Covid and NHS pressures had changed people’s minds.
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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."
He said the number of people dying at home is going to increase, and as the population ages increased demand for palliative care in the community will follow.
Dr Sarah Scobie, deputy director of research at The Nuffield Trust, said: "Patient choice could be one factor, with more people choosing to die at home with family rather than in hospitals or care homes due to Covid-19 visiting restrictions.
"However, there is a fear that some may be putting off seeking urgent medical help.
“While it has been an ambition of health and care services to give more people the choice of dying at home, beyond the pandemic, it has to be accompanied by ensuring families and patients will be able to access the right end-of-life support.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "The health service is open and we urge anyone to come forward to seek treatment if they need it.”