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News: Excess winter deaths show devastating impact of Covid-19

Age Scotland news

Published on 12 October 2021 03:07 PM

Age Scotland has raised concerns about new figures showing a stark rise in excess winter deaths, highlighting the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on older people.

National Records of Scotland revealed today that 23,370 deaths were registered in Scotland during winter 20/21, the second highest total in the last 30 years.

Covid-19 was the underlying cause of nearly two thirds of the 4,330 additional deaths over the winter, with the vast majority among those aged 65 and over.

There were also increases in deaths from dementia and heart disease, with an additional 210 deaths each.

Brian Sloan, Chief Executive of Age Scotland, said: “These stark figures show the devastating impact that Covid-19 had last winter, in particular on the older population. These are not just statistics, but each one will be desperately missed by their family and loved ones.

"While there were exceptional circumstances, these high numbers are still very concerning. It's also very worrying to see the significant increases in deaths from dementia and heart disease.

"We know that health and social care services were under incredible strain over the winter, working flat out to care for people at a very difficult time. But we have already expressed concerns about the removal of social care packages, with too many people struggling to access the care they needed in their communities. This is likely to have had serious consequences, especially on those living with dementia.

“With the current fuel crisis and temperatures dropping, we are urging the UK and Scottish Governments to provide extra help to those most vulnerable this winter.

"Health and social care partnerships are already under pressure, and they urgently need more support to care for those in need. There's a very real risk that future excess death rates could remain high if we don't tackle the backlog in those waiting for social and medical care and ensure services return to pre-pandemic levels.

"It’s also more vital than ever that older people take care of their health this winter, and take up their offer of Covid-19 booster and flu jabs for extra protection. Anyone concerned about themselves or another older person can call the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222.”

Contact Age Scotland's media team:

Age Scotland provides a seven day a week response service to media enquiries through a dedicated telephone line and email.

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