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Huge spike in excess winter deaths sounds deafening wake-up call‚ Age Concern and Help the Aged says

Commenting on the ONS figures published this morning‚ showing the number of excess deaths has increased by half‚ Andrew Harrop‚ Head of Policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged‚ said:

“It is a national scandal that the UK has more older people dying in winter‚ compared to the rest of the year‚ than countries with more severe weather‚ such as Sweden and Finland. Excess winter deaths of older people have remained stubbornly high in recent years‚ but last winter’s huge spike sounds a deafening wake-up call about the older population’s well-being if we have another cold snap.

“High winter mortality is an indirect indicator of the difficulties older people face in protecting themselves from the cold in the UK. Last winter‚ as temperatures plunged‚ rising inflation and soaring energy bills forced two in five older people to cut back on their heating to save money. If cash-strapped older people turn down the heating during a colder winter‚ this can easily lead to a rise in the numbers affected by cold-related illnesses‚ which contribute to the thousands of excess winter deaths each year.

“To end this national scandal‚ the Government must do much more to tackle fuel poverty‚ which currently affects one in three older households. As a first step‚ ministers must use next month’s Pre-Budget Report to restore funding for the Warm Front Scheme which is set to plummet next year.

Source:  www.ageconcern.org.uk


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