Excess winter deaths up by a third, ONS finds

26 Nov 13
The Department of Health has said it is concerned by an almost 30% rise in the number of excess deaths recorded last winter but stressed that the NHS is ready for any coming cold weather-related health issues

By Vivienne Russell | 26 November 2013

The Department of Health has said it is concerned by an almost 30% rise in the number of excess deaths recorded last winter but stressed that the NHS is ready for any coming cold weather-related health issues.

Figures issued by the Office for National Statistics today showed that there were an estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2012/13. This was a 29% increase when compared with the previous winter.

The majority of deaths occurred among people aged 75 and over. There were 25,600 excess deaths in this age group compared to 5,500 among younger people.

Commenting on the figures, a DoH spokesman said: ‘This rise in deaths is concerning, but we know from a report published by Public Health England this August that increased excess deaths in 2012/13 were occurring across Europe and coincided with an unusually prolonged influenza season and late cold period.’

But he added that the NHS was ‘well prepared’ for coming winter health issues, with the annual flu vaccination campaign underway and extend to two- and three-year-old children.

‘In addition, we are supporting accident and emergency departments to prepare for the expected increase in demand over winter – firstly with £250m funding, and no an extra £150m from NHS England.’

The ONS defines the winter period as running from December through to March. Excess deaths are calculated by comparing the number of deaths that occur in this period, with those in the preceding August to November period and the following April to July.

It noted that, along with other countries, more people tend to die during the winter months in England and Wales than at other times of the year. In 2012/13, 19.6% more people died in the winter months compared with the non-winter months, up from 15.5% in 2011/12.

Spacer

CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?

Top