Preventable winter deaths highest since 1999

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

There were an estimated 43,900 preventable deaths – so called 'excess deaths' – in England and Wales last winter, the BBC reports today.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, are up 12,000 compared with the 2012/13 winter and are the highest number of deaths since 1999.

Most of the deaths involved people over the age of 75, with respiratory illnesses identified as the underlying cause of death for more than a third of cases.

In his review of Simon Pemberton's recent book, Harmful Societies, Steve Tombs points out that the mainly older people who make up the 'excess deaths' data each winter are 'not killed by the cold per se, but by illnesses brought on by lack of access to affordable heating, or suitably warm, dry accommodation, or most likely both'.