The Novel Coronavirus has killed more than 13,000 people in the UK and infected over 104,000 Britons. But recently, leaked documents have revealed that the doctors are asked not to list COVID-19 as a cause on death certificates of Coronavirus patients.
The leaked document was actually an NHS hospital guidance which was obtained by a non-profit organization called Good Law Project. It has revealed that "pneumonia or community-acquired pneumonia is acceptable" in terms of the cause of death in the death certificates instead of mentioning Coronavirus directly.
Guidelines for NHS doctors
It should be noted that titled as "guidance for death certification of proven COVID-19 patients during the current pandemic" the document the says confirmed Coronavirus deaths must be reported to the hospital site manager. But in another section, it was mentioned that "There is no requirement to write COVID-19 as part of the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD)."
The document also reveals that the Coronavirus can be mentioned in another area of the form relating to indirect causes of death "should the doctor wish." The guidance added that pneumonia, which is a common complication of the deadly disease, can be written on the certificate as it says, "pneumonia would be appropriate on an MCCD" as a direct cause of death.
However, this new guideline in one NHS hospital contradicts with the official guidance that the says "it would be satisfactory" to give Novel Coronavirus as the cause of death even if the deceased patient is a suspected case or no confirmed results available. The official guidance also includes that the COVID-19 is an acceptable "direct or underlying cause of death" for the purposes of completing the death certificate. It also says that doctors can fill the MCCD with these details if the medical practitioners are able to "state the cause of death to the best of their knowledge and belief."
Newly leaked documents
As reported by Daily Mial, Good Law Project said on Thursday that if NHS doctors are being discouraged from reporting COVID-19 deaths "We have no way of knowing if the Government figures on deaths from coronavirus - the daily in hospital figures as well as the weekly Office for National (ONS) figures - are accurate. The Good Law Project has instructed lawyers to write to the NHS hospital trust today, asking them to clarify the guidance urgently."
In addition, they also mentioned that "So far we've only seen the guidance from one trust. We have no idea if the hospital trusts up and down the country are issuing the same guidance."
However, a few days ago reports claimed that the death could be higher as hundreds of people who are dying in care homes from confirmed or suspected Coronavirus infection are not included in the overall death toll. It was revealed that more than 120 people in the UK's largest charitable provider of care homes are thought to have died from the COVID-19 in past few weeks. But here it should be mentioned that the daily death toll published by the UK's Department of Health and Social Care only includes only reported deaths in NHS England hospitals.