31,000 excess winter deaths

There were 31,000 deaths linked to cold weather last winter, new figures show. The number of "excess winter deaths" in England and Wales rose by 29% compared with the previous year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

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Charity: Rising winter deaths cause for 'national shame'

Charity Age UK has said that the ONS figures on rising winter deaths should be cause for "national shame" because of a "failure to address the scandal of cold homes" in the UK.

It should be a cause of national shame that last year’s cold weather claimed so many lives unnecessarily. 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.

Cold homes are caused by a number of factors including poor insulation and high energy costs, and are a major cause of excess winter deaths.1 In fact those living in the coldest homes are three times more likely to die a preventable death than those living in warmer ones.

– Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams,

Majority of winter deaths among pensioners

The majority of winter deaths reported by the ONS were among pensioners with over-75s accounting for 25,600 winter-related deaths in 2012/13.

Deaths peaked in the first week of January. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Deaths were highest in the North West in 2012/13 and lowest in London.

"The number of deaths peaked in the first week of January, which coincided with a peak in rates of influenza-like illness over the Christmas weeks," the ONS report said.

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