Winter deaths almost half of 2014/15 spike

The annual increase in deaths over winter has returned to average levels following a spike in 2014/15, according to the Office of National Statistics.

“Excess winter mortality” was at 15% in 2015/16 – meaning 15% more deaths took place in winter than the other seasons.

At 24,300, the number of extra winter deaths is almost half the 2014/15 figure, and is in line with the recent average.

Winter mortality has generally been falling for decades, and the 2014/15 increase marked the highest levels in 15 years.

In December, Labour MP Dan Jarvis criticised the Government for “complacency” in how it deals with the issue of winter deaths.

The response came after the Government confirmed that 2015’s Department of Health Cold Weather Plan would not be updated “until further notice”. According to the Yorkshire Post, he said: “Over the last five years, over 152,000 people have lost their lives in Britain due to the cold.

“When you begin to look into why more people die each winter it quickly becomes clear that many of these deaths are entirely avoidable.

“The Government needs to take responsibility for improving the heating, housing and health of the most vulnerable in society.

“Their annual Cold Weather Plan should be just that – a new strategy published every year that builds on the learning from previous years and effectively addresses the complex causes of excess winter deaths.”

The Department of Health answered that NHS England and Public Health England do “extensive work” every year to plan for the winter.

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