Fears of winter death toll rise27th November 2008
The charity Age Concern has raised fears that rising energy prices could mean more deaths among elderly people this winter.
It polled 2,300 people over the age of 60 and found that almost two thirds were worried about being able to afford to heat their homes while half were planning to cut back on heating costs.
Weather forecasters are predicting that the coming winter could be one of the coldest in years which the charity says could lead to more older people dying.
Latest figures for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested there was a 7% jump in extra deaths last year despite a relatively mild winter.
It revealed that from December 2007 to March 2008 there were an extra 25,300 deaths in England and Wales compared with the average for non-winter months.
The figure is still short of the deaths in the winters of the late 1990s when extra deaths rose about 50,000 because of flu.
Age Concern director general Gordon Lishman said: "With this winter set to be colder than last, the numbers are likely to rise. Pensioners are clearly more worried about staying warm and well this year.
"Yet, the impact of increased energy bills is causing thousands to risk their health by cutting back on heating."
The charity urged older people to claim their full benefit entitlement to be able to keep warm and also to get their annual flu jab.
The Department of Health has also urged people to get the flu jab.
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Title: Fears of winter death toll rise
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9392
Date Added: 27th Nov 2008