9 February 2022
ATISN 16025 – Covid Death Figures
Thank you for your request to the Welsh Government for information under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) received on 27 January regarding Covid death figures. You requested the following information:
- The true Covid death figures that Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gethin told the Welsh people over the past two years and where they obtained their information and figures from.
- Why Mark Drakeford doesn’t want an independent Welsh inquiry.
On Q1, as we said in our previous response the Office for National Statistics (ONS) collect and produce mortality statistics for England and Wales based on information from the death registration process. This information is publicly available on their website for all members of the public to use, and Welsh Government Ministers frequently use this data when referring to Covid-19 mortality in Wales.
Medical practitioners certify the causes of death for all deaths to the best of their knowledge of the patient/individual. They can list all the causes in the chain of events that led to the death and any pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to a death.
In their latest weekly publication, the ONS figures show that since the start of the pandemic there have been 9,478 deaths involving Covid-19 in Wales. Deaths involving COVID-19 mean that medical practitioners listed COVID-19 anywhere on the death certificate. This figure represents deaths occurring up to 21 January 2022 but registered up to 29 January 2022. As these figures are updated weekly, they are likely to have been updated by the time this response is issued. The underlying data can be found here: Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
Alongside their weekly mortality publication, the ONS report how many people died due to COVID-19 monthly. Death due to COVID-19 are when COVID-19 was identified as the underlying (main) cause on the death certificate. Since the start of the pandemic to December 2021 there have currently been 8,028 deaths due to COVID-19 to Welsh residents. This information can be found here: Deaths registered monthly in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
Both of these datasets are important to allow the public and Ministers to consider the impact that COVID-19 is having on the people of Wales.
On Q2, the provisions enshrined within the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides right of access to what is held as recorded information at the time the request is made. However, the act does not require us to share our opinion on matters.
In the Senedd the First Minister has set out his reasons for being part of a UK-wide inquiry. He believes that a single UK-wide inquiry, with the force and capacity that it will have, is the best way to shine a light on the way in which the experiences that people have had in Wales can be properly understood, and an account of them given. He feels an inquiry needs to take into account the wider context within which those decisions were made and the interconnected nature of many of them. He believes this is the best way to give people the most insightful account of the way in which decisions have been made in Wales and for lessons to be learnt.
If you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response. Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:
Information Rights Unit,
or Email: Freedom.email@example.com
Please remember to quote the ATISN reference number above.
You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office,
However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.