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Sharp Rise in Excess Winter Deaths
Latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a 29% rise in excess winter deaths compared to last year. In 2012/13 there were an estimated 31,100 excess deaths with the majority amongst people over 75. A cold winter and an increase in flu illness over the Christmas period were thought to be two of the reasons behind the increase. Whilst temperatures in December 2012 were milder than average, they were followed by a prolonged period of lower than average temperatures. The number of deaths peaked in the first week of January coinciding with a peak of flu over the Christmas break.
Charity, Age UK, called the figures ?shameful?. Director, Caroline Abrahams, told the BBC; ?Excess winter deaths are preventable and today’s figures are a damning indictment of our failure to address the scandal of cold homes in this country. We strongly believe that the only sustainable solution is investment to increase the energy efficiency of our housing stock so cold homes become a thing of the past.”
The situation was worse in Wales with an increase from 1,260 to 1,900 deaths in the year. The news comes fresh on the heels of controversial increases in fuel bills by Britain?s big six energy companies who also announced large profits. A recent report by the Department of Health also revealed that hypothermia cases went up by over a third with 28,354 people requiring hospital treatment last year.
The full report from the ONS can be found at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/2012-13–provisional–and-2011-12–final-/stb-ewm-12-13.html