Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
17 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Government’s official death toll stats lagging behind true figures, Hancock says


By Samuel Horti

Official government statistics for coronavirus-related deaths among NHS workers and in care homes do not reflect the true death toll, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The latest government figures show that 27 NHS staff have died from the coronavirus. Hancock said this figure is updated three times a week, but that the true number will be higher. He would like to be able to publish a daily figure for the death toll among NHS staff, he told a virtual meeting of the Health and Social Care Committee this morning. 

Asked about the latest Official for National Statistics data on deaths in care homes, which shows 217 coronavirus-related deaths, representing less than 2 per cent of total deaths, Hancock said “that I can tell you with a high degree of confidence that both the number and proportion are higher”. In Scotland, a quarter of reported deaths have occured in care homes.

He has asked officials to find a better way of recording and reporting care home deaths, and new policies were implemented yesterday, he said. The government’s goal was to be “as transparent as possible”.

Hancock also revealed the government considered a London-only lockdown in the early stages of the virus but rejected the idea, partly because locking down the city would simply cause people to leave.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy