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Winter deaths in Suffolk 'still too high' with levels among highest in UK

PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:55 29 November 2019

There are still concerns about the number of excess winter deaths in Suffolk and Essex Picture: Getty Images/BananaStock RF

There are still concerns about the number of excess winter deaths in Suffolk and Essex Picture: Getty Images/BananaStock RF

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The number of people losing their lives unnecessarily during winter is "still too high", campaigners are warning.

Despite excess winter deaths - the difference between the number of people who die between December and March compared with the three months before and after - falling dramatically in 2017/18, the east of England still has one of the highest levels in the country.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal there were 760 excess winter deaths in Suffolk during 2017/18 and 1,480 in Essex. Both were marked increases from the previous year's figures.

However, provisional data for winter 2018/19 indicates the number of excess deaths halved across the east of England from 5,490 in 2017/18 to 2,700 in 2018/19.

Yet Jo Reeder, of Age UK Suffolk, has warned these figures are "clearly still too high".

"These are substantial numbers of people," she said.

"These figures are a reality check for our county and sadly reflect the fact that Suffolk's rurality and increased demographic of older people impacts on this.

"Keeping the home warm is an essential way of helping to maintain good health and the Surviving Winter campaign through Suffolk Community Foundation can assist with winter warmth grants for qualifying applicants."

Local breakdowns for excess winter deaths will not be available until next November, but numbers are likely to have dropped in Suffolk and Essex in line with the region-wide numbers.

The ONS suggested that above average temperatures, particularly in December, February and March could partly explain the decrease in deaths.

Respiratory conditions such as pneumonia remained among the top reasons recorded for the deaths.

Across England and Wales there were an estimated 23,200 excess winter deaths in 2018/19 - the lowest recorded since 2013/14.

How to donate to Surviving Winter

If you are able to give to either the Surviving Winter or Winter Crisis appeals, you can do so online, by telephone on 01473 602602 or by going to any branch of Ipswich Building Society.

You can also post a cheque made payable to Suffolk Community Foundation, to The Old Barns, Peninsula Business Centre, Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP9 2BB.

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