Thursday, 5 February 2009

The death rate amongst older people in winter - Is a phenomenon in Britain!


We can expect a higher death rate amongst older people and an increase in cold related illnesses, following this recent extended period of cold weather in Britain.
The death rate associated with the winter months is a phenomenon in Britain; as we have the worst records in Europe. A World Health Organisation (WHO) report published by its European Regional Office last year stated, “The magnitude of the excess in the United Kingdom, at over 40,000 deaths every winter is the highest in the European Union… A large component of excess winter deaths is preventable. Recent analysis suggests that the seasonal variations are related to indoor rather than outdoor temperatures… that excess winter deaths are related to poor housing conditions—insufficient thermal insulation, ineffective heating systems and fuel poverty.”

The figures published by the National Statistics Office, for the excess winter deaths for December 2007 to March 2008, represented a 7 percent increase over the previous winter figures. These excess deaths were predominantly of older people.
So whilst Gordon Brown was standing at the dispatch box yesterday; gassing on about how this government was forking out extra money to help the old and venerable with heating costs, somewhere someone was feeling winters nip as many of the poorest pensioners are struggling to afford paying for essentials like food and heating, whilst it is still estimated that up to £5 billion in benefits is still going unclaimed.

The autumn edition of Poverty magazine published by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in an article, “Who is Fuel Poor?” commented on heating costs:
“Fuel poverty is set to become the experience of a majority of households in income poverty… benefit increases do not reflect the real increase in the costs of living of people living on benefits—they spend a larger proportion of their budgets on just the items that are increasing in price fastest—fuel, food and water.”

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