Author: Age NI
Published on 29 November 2011 12:00 PM
Age NI welcomes the fall in excess winter deaths but says there is no room for complacency.
Commenting on the NISRA figures published today which show a decrease in the number of excess winter deaths, Anne O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Age NI said:
‘We welcome the fact that there was a decrease in the number of excess winter deaths in 2010/11, especially in light of harsh conditions Northern Ireland experienced last winter. However there is no room for complacency, older people are still dying unnecessarily during the winter months, with 80% of the 2010/11 excess winter deaths in the 65 plus category.
‘High winter mortality is an indirect indicator of the difficulties older people face in protecting themselves from the cold in Northern Ireland. We know that fuel prices are soaring and pensioner poverty is the only type of poverty in Northern Ireland on the increase. Combine this with the fact that older people living here are more likely to reside in non-decent homes, and it is clear that older people are particularly vulnerable in the winter months. In the last number of weeks alone there has been an increase in calls to our Advice Service requesting advice on the replacement of inefficient and broken boilers. This is a particular gap in the current range of initiatives to reduce fuel poverty.
‘Age NI is calling on the NI Executive to work together to implement an effective fuel poverty strategy that addresses all the combined elements of fuel poverty - energy efficiency, income and energy prices. Actions outlined in the Programme for Government aimed at reducing fuel poverty need to be clearly articulated and implemented.’