Coronavirus deaths increase by more than a fifth over the weekend at Morecambe Bay hospitals trust

The coronavirus death toll has increased by more than a fifth at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust over the weekend, latest official figures show.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 9:32 am

It comes as a coalition of charities said older people are feeling pressured into signing "Do Not Attempt CPR" forms.

NHS England figures show 62 people had died in hospital at the University Hospitals Of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust as of 5pm on Sunday (April 5).

This includes Furness General Hospital and Westmorland General Hospital as well as the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

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The Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

That was an increase of 22 per cent compared to the 51 that had been recorded at the same point on Friday.

They were among 552 deaths recorded across the north west.

Of the 20 trusts across the north west, UHMBT has the second highest death toll, with 18 having been recorded at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary up to Friday.

Daily death counts are revised each day, with each case backdated to the actual date of death.

This means some of the deaths that were first recorded in the last 24 hours may actually have taken place days earlier.

NHS England guidance states: "Confirmation of COVID-19 diagnosis, death notification and reporting in central figures can take up to several days and the hospitals providing the data are under significant operational pressure."

Only deaths that occur in hospitals where the patient has tested positive for Covid-19 are recorded, with deaths in the community excluded, such as those in care homes.

Across England, the death toll hit 4,897 on Sunday, up from 3,939.

Separate figures from the Department of Health and Social Care show 47,806 people had tested positive for Covid-19 across the UK as of 9am on Sunday, up from 38,168 on Friday.

Organisations supporting the elderly said they were hearing "shocking examples" of blanket decisions seemingly being made about the care and treatment of older people.

A joint statement from a coalition of organisations said older people were being pressured into signing "Do Not Attempt CPR" forms, with many of those who have been affected left feeling as if "their lives and wishes do not matter".

The nine signatories include Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Independent Age, Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, and the Commissioners for Older People in Wales and Northern Ireland.

They said: "Difficult and painful decisions will need to be made in the weeks ahead, but these must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking account of the risks and benefits, and people's own wishes, through honest discussions between patients, doctors and families.

"Whether or not to sign a 'do not attempt CPR' form is an individual's decision, and they have a right to make that decision without feeling pressurised.

"We do not underestimate the significant pressures being faced by all staff working across our health and social care sectors at this difficult time, but it is crucial that we continue to protect people's fundamental human rights.

"It would be completely unacceptable to abandon these rights in favour of taking blanket, discriminatory decisions."

They are calling for stronger leadership across the UK to avoid "further worry and upset" during the coming months.