While Scotland and now Northern Ireland have moved to a new covid-19 recording method for deaths, leading to major increases in cases being reported and opening up governments there to inaccurate comparisons, Matt Hancock resists any such change for England.

From the Good Law Project’s campaign:

Leaked guidance from an NHS hospital trust reveals that doctors are not being required to report COVID-19 as the cause of death for patients. Here’s what the guidance says: ‘Doctors are asked to use the standard MCCD (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) form to certify death. ‘Pneumonia ‘or ‘community acquired pneumonia’ are acceptable at 1(a) on the MCCD. There is no requirement to write COVID 19 as part of the MCCD. It may be mentioned at 1(b) on the form, should the doctor wish.’ The guidance can be seen here. The Good Law Project has instructed a legal team to write a letter to the hospital trust to ask them to withdraw this guidance urgently. You can read the letter here.  The government’s daily figures for the number of deaths from COVID-19 are based on what is reported on death certificates. If doctors are not required to write COVID-19 anywhere on the death certificate, then we have no way of knowing if those figures are correct.

https://goodlawproject.org/covid-19-deaths/

The new Scottish system began ten days ago:

https://www.gov.scot/news/additional-covid-19-daily-data-published/

It has been used by some of the Unionist press to dramatise death rates.

Northern Ireland moved to a more accurate system yesterday:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-52322933