INCREASE IN WINTER DEATHS
RURAL PARTS OF COUNTY AT SPECIFIC RISK
THE number of winter deaths in Buckinghamshire has risen sharply, new figures reveal.
New government statistics have revealed there were 200 excess winter deaths in Buckinghamshire during 2013/14 with the high number of people living in cold, poorly insulated homes a strong contributing factor.
Provisional figures for last winter (2014/15) show a significant rise in preventable deaths across the region with 6,600 recorded in the South East.
This suggests the 2014/15 figure for Buckinghamshire will be considerably higher when the full data is released.
Excess winter deaths are largely a result of people living in cold homes over the winter months. Rural parts of the county are disproportionally affected because houses are typically older with poorer insulation.
The figures also highlight that 41,000 of the deaths in England and Wales last winter were people aged 65 or over, the highest level for 15 years.
In response, OFTEC, the trade body for oil heating, has teamed up with Age UK to help ensure households in Buckinghamshire are better prepared for the cold weather this winter.
Malcolm Farrow, of OFTEC, said: “Christmas is a very busy, and expensive, time of year and many households risk their health by turning down their heating to save money. Fortunately, the 16,000 homes in Buckinghamshire heated by oil are seeing the lowest oil prices in six years which means they can afford to keep their heating on for longer, unlike users of LPG and electric storage heaters who have higher energy bills.
“Last year’s excess winter death figures were not helped by an ineffective flu vaccine, which shows there is still much more that needs to be done to keep vulnerable people warm and well this winter. To help, we have produced a free advice booklet with Age UK.”
For more advice on staying warm go to www.oilsave.org.uk