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January 31, 2024 COVID Global Threats Views


Watch: An ‘Epidemic of Heart Disease Deaths’ in England, Says John Campbell

Medical analyst John Campbell, Ph.D., today highlighted a new British Heart Foundation report showing there were more than 100,000 excess cardiovascular deaths in England since February 2020.

john campbell uk heart deaths feature

More than 100,000 excess deaths involving cardiovascular conditions occurred in England since February 2020, according to prominent medical commentator John Campbell, Ph.D., in a video posted today.

The figure comes from a new British Heart Foundation report, which also shows more than 39,000 people under age 75 died prematurely from heart disease and stroke last year alone — a 14-year high.

Citing the lack of public outcry and government intervention around the statistics, Campbell, a former nurse and healthcare educator, said authorities need to urgently determine why decades of progress in reducing cardiovascular disease mortality are suddenly reversing across England.

“We’ve got an epidemic of heart disease here,” Campbell said.

According to Dr. Sonya Babu-Narayan, a cardiologist and associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, the rise is the “worst heart care crisis in living memory.” “Urgent intervention is long overdue,” she said.

The reasons for the trend reversal are “multiple and complex,” according to the British Heart Foundation press release, which cited increasing National Health Service pressures, healthcare inequalities and the COVID-19 pandemic as potential culprits.

The news echoes a recent analysis of cardiovascular death trends in the U.S. co-authored by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist, which showed a marked increase since 2020, with the 2022 mortality rate being the highest observed since 2011.

Campbell said that despite the availability of experts like pathologists and medical researchers, “We might as well not have” them because “they’re not being adequately commissioned to do this work.”

“Why aren’t universities being given emergency grants to investigate this?” he said.

Campbell also noted the severe backup in National Health Service capacity, citing data showing more than 400,000 people in England were waiting for cardiac care at the end of November.

‘This is costing countries a fortune’

Beyond the tragic human toll of 139,000-plus deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease each year in the U.K., the British Heart Foundation reported the economic impacts are also severe, with heart and other circulatory health issues costing £8.3 billion ($11.3 billion) annually for healthcare alone.

According to Campbell, the spiking rates of morbidity and mortality affect not only families grieving lost loved ones, but also disable many more survivors. He cited statistics showing significant increases in government payouts for disability allowances in recent years, which he tied directly to ailments like debilitating strokes.

“Lives are changed with paralysis, ongoing,” Campbell explained, referencing the distressing cases of stroke he has witnessed where patient mobility and respiration are severely impacted for the remainder of their lives.

Campbell pointed not just to the direct healthcare costs cited in the British Heart Foundation release, but also to impacts like lost productivity and wages that strain the entire system.

“This is costing countries a fortune because people that would be productive are dying — apart from the incalculable tragedy to the individual and the family.”

Campbell said the “hard cash” consequences of the spike in cardiovascular issues in terms of the long-term care costs and economic hits from disabilities and deaths should be incentive enough for public health authorities to urgently investigate causes and solutions — if human welfare was not sufficient motivation already.

“And yet we see essentially nothing from governments,” he said.

Comparing England to global trends

While the British Heart Foundation’s newly released data focuses specifically on the reversing fortunes of cardiovascular disease mortality in England, Campbell questioned whether this trend is a U.K.-specific phenomenon or part of a more widespread global resurgence.

He referenced excess mortality trends in countries ranging from the U.S. to Japan to Ireland.

“There are definitely excess deaths around the world” in recent years, he said. He said he doesn’t know how many of those excess deaths are directly attributable to heart disease. But he assumed cardiovascular conditions comprise the highest such category in most places, as it does in Britain.

When discussing potential factors behind the global spikes, Campbell analyzed changes over time in classic risk factors like smoking, hypertension, diabetes and obesity rates.

However, he concluded that while management of these could always be improved, he doubted sufficient deterioration occurred in recent years to account for the dramatic trend reversals taking place simultaneously across many countries.

“So what other factors are at play here?” Campbell asked. “Pretty well no official interest in the cause of this. Why would governments not want to get to the bottom of this?”

Mirroring the incomplete investigation of potential causes in the U.S. cardiovascular mortality study, neither the British Heart Foundation press release nor Campbell mentioned the possible role of vaccines. However, Campbell’s many podcasts suggest he suspects they play a role in the worsening U.K. statistics.

But in today’s video, Campbell pointed to the elephant in the room only through his repeated questions about “other factors … in the last few years” that could have played a role, and why governments have “no official interest in the cause.”

Campbell focused his call to action on the viewers across different countries witnessing similarly worrying trends globally. “Maybe, like me, you feel let down, deserted,” he said. “You’re not isolated, there’s lots of us.”

Watch here:

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