A committee of MSPs is launching an inquiry into the rising number of excess deaths in Scotland since the start of the pandemic.
Recent data shows deaths in Scotland have been above average for the past six months and are currently 11% above average for this time of year.
The Covid-19 Recovery Committee is seeking to establish the extent to which this is caused by coronavirus directly as well as indirect health effects of the pandemic.
It is seeking views from experts on whether patients are presenting with more acute illnesses than previously.
MSPs will also seek to understand what is driving deaths from non-Covid conditions and whether there is enough of a strategic focus on indirect health impacts.
Committee convener Siobhian Brown said: “The latest data released by the Scottish Government shows an alarming rise in the number of excess deaths since the start of the pandemic.
“Recent media reports suggest the pandemic has led to delays and decreases in the number of patients being diagnosed with illnesses, such as cancers, which can negatively impact the efficacy of treatment.
“We are keen to learn more about the indirect health impacts of the pandemic and whether the public health emergency has shifted from Covid-19 deaths to deaths from non-Covid-19 conditions.”
She continued: “Every death is a tragedy, whether caused by Covid-19 or not, and it is essential that we establish the root causes of these deaths and find out what has led to this spike in the number of lives being lost.”
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