Search

Nearly 600 more people died in Norfolk during winter as number of excess winter deaths soars

PUBLISHED: 06:59 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 06:59 06 December 2018

In Norfolk, there were around 590 more deaths during the winter of 2016/17. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In Norfolk, there were around 590 more deaths during the winter of 2016/17. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The number of additional deaths during winter almost doubled last year compared to the previous year across the UK, as the colder months took their toll on the elderly and infirm.

The Surviving Winter campaign is run by the Norfolk Community Foundation and backed by the EDP and Norwich Evening NewsThe Surviving Winter campaign is run by the Norfolk Community Foundation and backed by the EDP and Norwich Evening News

Every year, more people die in winter than in summer, due to colder temperatures, respiratory diseases and outbreaks of flu - but a charity says older people in East Anglia are suffering in the cold as they worry about putting their heating on.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) measures the impact of these factors by comparing the number of additional deaths between December and March to the rest of the year.

During the winter of 2016/17, the latest period figures are available, there were around 590 excess winter deaths in Norfolk, a significant increase compared to the year before when there were 390 deaths.

Similar figures were seen in Suffolk, where 550 people died during the winter months compared to 300 in the year previously.

This occurred against the backdrop of the NHS’s most serious winter crisis for many years and the heavy snowfall - nicknamed the Beast from the East - causing significant hardship to those worried about not being able to pay their energy bills.

Rural areas like Norfolk experience high rates of excess winter deaths as homes tend to be older with poorer insulation and so are more difficult to keep warm.

Lin Mathews, head of charitable services at Age UK Norfolk, said last year saw particularly bad winter and many elderly people chose to suffer in the cold rather than face high energy bills.

“I think the deaths are linked to the bad weather,” she said. “Older people are getting cold and dying unnecessarily because of the cold.

“There are lots of people in Norfolk who suffer from respiratory conditions as they worked on the land, so therefore that restricts their breathing.

“There is also a high number of people suffering strokes and asthma in Norfolk.”

The Surviving Winter Campaign, run by the Norfolk Community Foundation and backed by the EDP and Norwich Evening News, aims to raise £150,000 to tackle fuel poverty and help those who are struggling to keep warm.

Ms Mathews said: “The campaign will help alleviate some of the worry older people have, helping them to heat their homes so they do not need to worry and suffer in the cold.”

Figures show large increases in winter deaths

The highest number of deaths in Norfolk were recorded in Broadland and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk - with 110 people dying in each local authority area, compared with 40 and 70 deaths, respectively, in the year before.

Around 80 people died in Norwich, 22pc more compared with the yearly average, and another 80 people died in Great Yarmouth, a 21pc increase compared to the summer months.

In Waveney, nearly three times as many people died during the winter in 2016/17 than the year before - a staggering 130 compared to just 50 in 2015/16.

Provisional data for England and Wales shows that excess winter deaths hit their highest level in more than 40 years during 2017-18, where an estimated 50,100 people died - 45pc higher than the previous year.

Across the East of England, winter was most deadly for pensioners and elderly people - out of 4,210 excess winter deaths in the region, 4,010 were older than 65 and 2,530 older than 85.

Surviving Winter

The Surviving Winter campaign is urging older people who do not need their winter fuel allowance to donate it to those who desperately do, as many are faced with choosing between paying the bills and putting food on the table.

Funds raised in the appeal will be distributed to a range of good causes across Norfolk, including the foundation trust’s key partners Age UK Norfolk, Norwich Foodbank and St Martins Housing Trust.

To donate, Visit the Surviving Winter appeal donation page at www.norfolkfoundation.com/news-events/launch-of-the-surviving-winter-appeal or call Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623 958.

You can donate by cheque made payable to Norfolk Community Foundation and send it to Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich NR3 1TN.

Related articles

Other news

Yesterday, 14:01

A council which mistakenly allowed vans and bin lorries on the road for three months without valid MOTs has to date escaped punishment.

Yesterday, 12:45

Police are appealing for information after a car was stolen in Little Melton and set alight.

Yesterday, 12:05

Funding for legal aid providers in the region has been cut by almost half in six years amid warnings the support network for vulnerable people has been “decimated”.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Fire crews from Norfolk have been called out to a fire in a kitchen.

Most Read

Yesterday, 12:45

Police are appealing for information after a car was stolen in Little Melton and set alight.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:01

A council which mistakenly allowed vans and bin lorries on the road for three months without valid MOTs has to date escaped punishment.

Read more
South Norfolk Council
Saturday, December 8, 2018

After months of roadworks which left traffic gridlocked and traders frustrated, Attleborough’s new road layout has been unveiled - but was it worth the wait?

Read more
Norfolk County Council
Sunday, December 9, 2018

A woman who improved her health after losing weight is urging others to follow her lead.

Read more
Friday, May 18, 2018

Villagers have expressed their shock after two newly-built houses were vandalised, with the word ‘ugly’ spray painted a number of times over them.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: -0°C

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy