Almost 900 “excess deaths” are thought to have occurred during the heatwaves of summer 2019, official data shows - the highest for three years.
There were an estimated 892 excess deaths - that is more than the expected baseline mortality - in the over-65s over summer last year, Public Health England (PHE) said, linked, they believe to the hot spells.
This is the highest number since 2016 when 908 excess deaths were recorded.
The number of deaths appeared to spike on the hottest day of the summer – July 25 - according to provisional data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last October.
Temperatures reached 38.7C (101.66F) in Cambridge, breaking the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK.
There were 572 excess deaths estimated during July 21-28 and 320 estimated between August 23-29.
The North East and East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, East of England, London and South East were most affected.
No “significant excess mortality” was observed during the first heatwave of the summer – June 28-30, PHE added.
Emer OConnell, head of extreme events and health protection at PHE, said: “As our climate changes, hot spells are expected to be more frequent and more intense.
“PHE is responding to this risk by updating the Heatwave Plan for England with an adverse weather and health plan which will improve existing guidance and focus on reducing the health risks associated with adverse weather whilst addressing the health risks identified in the second Climate Change Risk Assessment.”
Older people, babies and young children, and people with long-term health conditions such as heart or breathing problems are most vulnerable to the effects of prolonged hot weather.