Something has gone very wrong in the NHS in England

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David Spiegelhalter had an article in the Guardian yesterday in which he claimed we should not compare international variation in death rates from coronavirus as yet, and would not be able to do so for some time.

I have to disagree with him. I have noted the EuroMomo website that says this of itself:

EuroMOMO is a European mortality monitoring activity, aiming to detect and measure excess deaths related to seasonal influenza, pandemics and other public health threats.

Official national mortality statistics are provided weekly from the 24 European countries in the EuroMOMO collaborative network, supported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

They do provide comparisons: that is their job. They do so by normalising the data using Z scores (explained here) so that comparison is possible.

This is their most recent comparison for the nations of the UK:

Those comparisons are real, and telling. England is doing much worse than the rest of the UK.

And let me add one other thing. No other country has a profile like that of England. This is France:

And this is Italy:

I think comparisons can be made, and something is very wrong indeed in what has happened in the NHS in England, alone.

There has to be political accountability for this. And to say comparisons cannot be made now is to seek to support the avoidance of responsibility on the part of those who have failed.

David Spiegelhalter is wrong. We should be talking about differences, now.