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Author: Age Cymru
Published on 29 November 2012 12:30 PM

Commenting on the publication today of excess winter deaths figures in Wales during winter 2011/2012 today by the Office for National Statistics, Age Cymru’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs Graeme Francis says:

“Wales had a third less extra deaths in the winter months last year than in the previous winter, a bigger fall than across Wales and England as a whole, however, 1,300 extra people still died in Wales last winter.

“The fact that the vast majority of these deaths involved people aged 75 and over – equivalent to 8 people per day – demonstrates that many older people find the winter months extremely challenging to their health and wellbeing.  We believe all these deaths are preventable.

“While Age Cymru hopes that these figures show progress in tackling the effects of cold weather on older people, we should also remember that the weather was largely mild last winter and the levels of flu were amongst the lowest on record.

“We remain concerned that rising energy prices are likely to mean more people are forced to choose between heating and eating this winter - if this is combined with very cold weather, it could be dangerous for many older people.

“Over 330,000 households are estimated to be in fuel poverty in Wales and 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 ensuring that housing is easy to heat in cold weather. 

“Age Cymru welcomes progress in Wales on energy efficiency and the rationale behind recent proposals from Ofgem and the UK Government to simplify energy tariffs, and we hope that all organisations continue to do what they can to help people with heating.

“Age Cymru has launched its Spread the Warmth campaign to help address these problems, raise awareness of the difficulties older people face in cold weather and let them know help is available.“