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© Getty/Dan Kitwood
Patients went untreated during the Covid pandemic, missing out on statins and blood pressure pills

Sir Chris Whitty has warned that thousands of middle-aged people are now dying of heart conditions after many were reluctant to bother the NHS during the pandemic.

This year has seen a higher number of deaths than normal from preventable conditions as many have missed out on statins or pills for blood pressure amid lockdowns. As of now, there are currently 800 more people dying each week over normal levels, and only half of that is due to Covid, The Times has reported.

While the reasonings for these deaths are still unclear, the chief medical officer has now alerted the Government about how barriers to accessing medication may have contributed.

Sir Chris Whitty
© Press AssociationSir Chris Whitty has warned that thousands of middle-aged people are now dying of heart conditions after people were reluctant to bother the NHS at the height of the pandemic
Earlier this year, MailOnline reported that deaths from heart attacks soared by a fifth worldwide during the pandemic.

Previous research also indicated that many Brits were too worried to go to hospitals in case they were a burden on the already struggling NHS service, while others did not want to catch the virus. Millions of GP appointments and operations were postponed or scrapped too, which may have contributed to worsening conditions.

In drawing attention to excess deaths, Whitty reportedly pointed to figures from the Office of National Statistics which demonstrate that 5,170 deaths in men aged 50-64 could have been helped by heart medications. These patterns have been recognised by the Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay who recently stressed that it was important to be 'transparent coming out of Covid around excess deaths'.

He said: 'Now, one shared point of understanding must be the scale of the COVID backlog, with around now 7.1 million patients.

'For example, we know from the data that there are more 50 to 64-year-olds with cardiovascular issues.

'It's the result of delays in that age group seeing a GP because of the pandemic and in some cases, not getting statins for hypertension in time.'

The Department of Health has also opened more than 90 community diagnostic centres where people across the UK can be tested for numerous conditions including cancer, heart and lung disease.

Earlier this year it was pledged that a network of up to 160 centres and boosted testing capacity would be available by 2025.