Heart failure is the biggest driver of an alarming surge in excess deaths, a study reveals, as MPs demand a “thorough investigation” into the trend.

Last year was the most deadly non-pandemic year for excess deaths – those above the five year average – since the Second World War.

Research published tomorrow (Sunday) by scientists at Oxford University shows that while cancer and dementia deaths have fallen, deaths from heart and circulatory problems are spiralling.

This includes deaths from heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and lung clots.

The scientists say the rise cannot be accounted for by an ageing or growing population.

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