5000 extra deaths during March

Source : Rob Mansfield
Published on 05 April 2013 09:00 AM

Woman cold in her house

The number of deaths last month has increased by more than 5,000, following the second-coldest March on record.

Official figures for the first 3 weeks of March 2013 showed that there were 4,206 more deaths than the average for the past 5 years.

With another 1,000 expected during the last week of the month, this pushes the number of extra deaths to over 5,000.

Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's Charity Director-General, said: 'It’s really worrying that the number of deaths in March this year are significantly higher than the average for the previous five years.

'Cold homes are particularly dangerous to the health of older people and are a major contributing factor to the high numbers of excess winter deaths in this country.

In total, there were 33,500 deaths over the first 3 weeks of March 2013, compared with an average of 29,294 over the last 5 years.

Cold weather payments

The deaths come in spite of 635,000 cold weather payments during March - a result of 7 days of below-freezing temperatures - whereas last March, there were none.

Inevitably, older people are hit hardest by the freezing conditions - on average 90% of winter deaths affect people over 60.

'People living in the coldest homes are three times as likely to die from a cold-related illness compared to those in warmer homes,' said Michelle Mitchell. 

'We are trailing behind our European counterparts when it comes to providing decent housing that people can afford to heat, and it is the oldest and most vulnerable who are suffering.'

Winter deaths

During the winter of 2011-12, more than 24,000 older people died needlessly, as a result of cold-related illnesses.

Age UK's research shows that 36% of people aged 60 or over in Great Britain stay or live in just one heated room of their home to save money. 

Michelle Mitchell said: 'The government must invest new carbon taxes in a programme of energy efficiency to bring Britain’s housing stock into the 21st century and enable people to benefit from the heat they use.'

    

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    Caroline Abrahams

    Caroline Abrahams

    Age UK Director of External Affairs Caroline Abrahams.

    Caroline Abrahams: Charity Director

    Caroline joined Age UK in 2012.

    A social scientist and barrister, Caroline has spent her career in the voluntary and public sectors, mostly on children and families’ issues. She has worked in a senior capacity at the children’s charity, Action For Children and at the Local Government Association. Caroline has also been a policy adviser to Ministers and Shadow Ministers, and a senior civil servant. A former chair of the End Child Poverty campaign, Caroline’s policy interests include integrated health and care, family policy, poverty and the role of the voluntary sector.

    Caroline oversees Age UK’s influencing work and her team covers research, public policy, health influencing, media, campaigns and engagement and public affairs. She is also the Charity's lead spokesperson.

    Caroline decided to work for Age UK because she could see that there was a lot to do to change policy and practice so older people are served well, and because she passionately believes that Age UK can make a big difference.

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    James Goodwin

    James GoodwinProfessor James Goodwin: Head of Research

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    He has a Visiting Professorship in Ageing at Loughborough University.

    Jane Vass

    Jane Vass

    Jane Vass - Head of Public PolicyJane Vass - Head of Public Policy

    Jane Vass has been Head of Public Policy at Age UK since 2012, having joined Age UK’s predecessor, Age Concern England as Financial Services Policy Adviser in 2006. She was previously an independent consumer consultant specialising in financial services from the consumer viewpoint. In this capacity she undertook research such as reports for the National Consumer Council on equity release and on financial capability for the Securities and Investments Board. She also wrote the Daily Mail Tax Guide for 10 years. She was a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel from 1999 to 2003, and from 1983 to 1993 she worked for Consumers’ Association.
    Jane was given an OBE for her services to financial services in the June 2015 Birthday Honours list.

    Jane Vass has been Head of Public Policy at Age UK since 2012, having joined Age UK’s predecessor, Age Concern England as Financial Services Policy Adviser in 2006.

    She was previously an independent consumer consultant specialising in financial services from the consumer viewpoint. In this capacity she undertook research such as reports for the National Consumer Council on equity release and on financial capability for the Securities and Investments Board.

    She also wrote the Daily Mail Tax Guide for 10 years. She was a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel from 1999 to 2003, and from 1983 to 1993 she worked for Consumers’ Association.

    Jane was given an OBE for her services to financial services in the June 2015 Birthday Honours list.

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