Worcestershire's death toll during the last year of the coronavirus pandemic was more than 1,000 deaths higher than previous years.

This is according to Public Health England data that compares the number of deaths registered during the last year with how many were predicted based on previous mortality rates.

The area saw 7,322 deaths from any cause registered between March 21 last year – just days before the UK’s first lockdown – and March 19 this year.

That was 1,136 more than the 6,186 predicted based on the previous five years.

It means there were 18.4% more deaths than expected – although this was slightly below the England average of 20%.

So-called 'excess deaths' are considered a better measure of the overall impact of Covid-19 than simply looking at mortality directly linked to the virus, as they capture deaths that may have been indirectly caused by the crisis, and are not affected by changes in the level of testing.

Over the same period, there were 1,342 deaths in Worcestershire with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

Nationally, more than 100,000 excess deaths were recorded, while there were 129,000 with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said there were 'complex and deep-rooted' reasons why certain areas have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, including age in the community, ethnicity, levels of deprivation, and what jobs people do.

She added: “These are all factors that can make people more vulnerable to Covid-19.

“However, we also know that by sticking to the rules, and having the vaccine when offered one, we can all do our part to help protect ourselves and those around us wherever we live.”