IN­CREASE IN WIN­TER DEATHS

RU­RAL PARTS OF COUNTY AT SPE­CIFIC RISK

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Camil­la_Good­man

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

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