Win­ter deaths soar in re­gion

El­derly urged to get flu vac­cine

The Galloway News - - REVELATION - Jackie Grant

A sharp rise in deaths of peo­ple over the age of 85 was recorded in Dum­fries and Gal­loway last win­ter.

The num­ber al­most tre­bled from 40 in the previous year to 110, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Records of Scot­land.

The deaths hap­pened be­tween De­cem­ber, 2017, and March, 2018.

A health board spokesman said the in­crease in the 85 and overs is likely to “re­flect the rapidly in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple in that age group in Dum­fries and Gal­loway as part of the re­gion’s age­ing pop­u­la­tion”.

In 2000, there were 2,957 peo­ple aged over 85 in the re­gion. By 2016, the num­ber had risen 46 per cent to 4,326.

He added: “Many of these peo­ple have chronic, un­der­ly­ing health con­di­tions, and are more vul­ner­a­ble to ill­nesses such as pneu­mo­nia and the flu out­break we ex­pe­ri­enced last win­ter.

“For this rea­son, we would en­cour­age any­one el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive this year’s free flu vac­ci­na­tion to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity, help­ing to pro­tect both them­selves and the more vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of their com­mu­ni­ties.”

Pro­fes­sor Derek Bell OBE, pres­i­dent of the Royal Col­lege of Physi­cians of Ed­in­burgh, also urged peo­ple to get a flu vac­ci­na­tion.

He said: “Last win­ter was one of the harsh­est for some time, maybe a decade. We know that an ex­cess of deaths were re­ported last win­ter com­pared to the sea­sonal av­er­age, in part re­lated to in­fluenza and other res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions.

“As such we con­tinue to en­cour­age all at risk pa­tient groups – and in­deed health and care staff – to have their an­nual flu vac­ci­na­tion.”

Win­ter pro­tec­tion A pa­tient re­ceiv­ing a flu jab

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