LGA responds to ONS report on excess winter deaths

"The reasons more people die in winter are complex and interlinked with inadequate heating, poorly insulated housing, and health inequalities as well as circulating infectious diseases, particularly flu and norovirus, and the extent of snow and ice."


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Responding to a report published today by the Office for National Statistics on excess winter mortality in England and Wales for 2017/18, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“The fact that the number of excess winter deaths was the highest recorded for more than 40 years is hugely concerning. There are too many avoidable deaths each winter in England, primarily due to heart and lung conditions from cold temperatures rather than hypothermia.

“The reasons more people die in winter are complex and interlinked with inadequate heating, poorly insulated housing, and health inequalities as well as circulating infectious diseases, particularly flu and norovirus, and the extent of snow and ice.

"Reducing excess winter illness and death is not something that can be tackled in the winter alone nor something that the NHS alone can fix. With the imminent publication of the NHS Long Term Plan and the Government’s green paper on the future of social care, and the Secretary of State’s focus on prevention, the Government has an important opportunity to take a truly system-wide approach to supporting people’s wellbeing.

“This must include plugging the £3.5 billion funding gap facing adult social care by 2025 and reversing the £600 million cuts to councils’ public health budgets, which funds vital prevention work and helps to address health inequalities to help keep people well and out of hospital at all times of the year.”

Notes to editors

Councils’ public health grants from central government have been reduced by £600 million between 2015/16 and 2019/20.