50% rise in winter deaths - Age Cymru response

Source : Age Cymru
Published on 26 November 2013 10:30 AM

Age Cymru is calling for government action to prevent people dying during the winter months because of the cold.

It comes on the day that the Office for National Statistics has published figures that show 1,900 people died last winter (2012/2013) in Wales from cold-related illnesses such as strokes and heart attacks. 

This is an increase of 50% in winter deaths on the winter of 2011/2012, when 1,260 people died. 

Commenting on the figures, our Head of Policy and Public Affairs Graeme Francis says:

“Age Cymru remains very concerned that people are dying in such large numbers during the winter months because of the cold.

“We know that last winter older people in Wales were more likely to have cut back on their heating and eating than those anywhere else in the UK.

“Rising energy prices are likely to mean more people are put in this position again this winter and this, combined with very cold weather, could be very dangerous for many older people.

“The fact that older people in our communities are risking their health because they are afraid to turn up their heat or are going without food is clear evidence that we are failing them.

“The fact that people actually die in these entirely preventable circumstances is our national shame.

“We believe more can be done to help people heat their homes by governments in Cardiff Bay and Westminster by improving incomes, controlling energy prices and making our houses more energy efficient.” 

Members of the public who want advice about keeping warm during the winter months can contact Age Cymru’s advice line on 08000 223 444 and ask for a free copy our ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ guide.

Age Cymru is also giving away free thermometer cards from it shops and offices across Wales.

Spread the Warmth is Age Cymru's campaign to prevent thousands of older people suffering needlessly this winter, to reduce the number of preventable winter deaths among people in later life, and to make this time of year better for those who may have otherwise nowhere to turn.

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If you are a journalist and would like to speak to our External Relations team, please contact Iwan Rhys Roberts on 029 2043 1562, 07739 894 923.

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