Winter deaths in Scotland at highest level in 18 years

Posted: October 16, 2018 by oldbrew in News, weather

Scottish winter forecast [credit: BBC]


Whatever the causes may be, an excess of mild weather and/or low heating bills can safely be ruled out.

The number of people who died in Scotland last winter hit a 18-year high, new statistics have revealed.

There were 23,137 deaths between December 2017 and March 2018, according to the National Records of Scotland – the highest figure since 1999/2000, reports BBC News.

It also revealed that the seasonal increase in mortality – the number of “additional” deaths in winter – was significantly higher than in 2016/17.

The main underlying causes of the deaths were influenza and pneumonia.

Last winter saw the highest rates of flu-like illness in Scotland for seven years, according to the Scottish government.

In January Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland’s health service was facing “exceptional” pressures as the number of flu cases were double the previous year.

Many patients had to wait longer for treatment but the first minister said at the time that hard-working staff were ensuring that the NHS was “coping well”.

The government said it was providing a new flu vaccine to protect the over 75s this year, and investing an extra £10m to support winter resilience planning.

Why did more people die last winter?
The NRS report found that the total number of deaths in 2017/18 increased by 10.5% on the previous winter, when 20,946 deaths were recorded.

Last winter’s death total was the largest number since 23,379 deaths were recorded in 1999/2000.

Anne Slater, the chief executive of the National Records of Scotland (NRS), said there was a long-term downward trend of winter deaths since the early 1950s.

“However, the average value for the latest five years (which smoothes out much of the year-to-year fluctuation) is now above the level that had applied since the early 2000s,” she said.

“It is too soon to say whether there has been a change in the long-term trend: it could just be a short-term rise, like that seen roughly 20 years ago, after which the average fell for several years.”

Continued here.

Comments
  1. willybamboo says:

    I looked at global seasonal death statistics this past spring (best I could – national data was not universally available) It seemed to me to track the amount of daylight, rather than the temperatures. In other words: The seasonal increase in winter deaths seemed to correlate with how much sunlight you didn’t see, rather than how cold the temperature got. In the tropics there is no appreciable difference in seasonal death rates.

    This is not research. I merely looked at some statistics to see what seemed to correlate. I think it would stand up to scrutiny, but I don’t have the time to scrutinize further.

  2. saighdear says:

    Och cum ashore munn, People die now who never used tae die. Fowk are gettin aulder an e inglish cumin up fae thae free medsin. Mebbe there dyin fae oor kindness! ( sarc).
    Just another issue of Fake News – or — we do have to pass on, we cannot live for ever – have to go some time.

  3. oldbrew says:

    The original BBC report has been amended. One part now says:

    ‘Age Scotland said the National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures were “staggering”.

    It joined the Royal College of Physicians and Scotland’s chief medical officer in urging at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine before winter sets in.’

  4. JB says:

    If the stats are anything like the US, they’re not distinguishing from actual flu cases, and pneumonia cases which are far higher than the flu. Fake news indeed.

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    When I visited Shetland in 1977 it was explained that elderly people were sent to the south of Spain for 4 or more weeks in winter. It took advantage of the cheap seasonal hotel rates esp. as Spain wasn’t yet in the EU, boosted the immune system of the elderly and saved money from chronic illness and deaths clogging the hospital. The idea must have been dropped since global warming set in (or possibly the increased hotel rates once Spain got into the EU).
    Perhaps the scheme might be reconsidered although with the groupthink in the public service they would likely send the elderly to Greenland.

  6. Jim says:

    Question: does the Church of Anthropogenic Climate Change not understand that their “arguments” are propaganda, or are they just pimping alarmism for the money like Jim Baker?

    http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2018/01/linking-extreme-weather-to-climate-change-could-help-curb-carbon-emissions/

  7. dodgy geezer says:

    Some of the deaths may be directly cold-related – flu, for instance.

    Some of them may be due to secondary impacts – a heart attack and the ambulance couldn’t get there because of the snow, for example.

    Some may have even more tenuous connections – a hospital poorly staffed because of winter transport problems will have a higher death rate….

  8. Phoenix44 says:

    We are actually in a “catch-up” period of deaths now, as those who had the greatest gain in longevity reach their 80s. We had declining death rates for some time but we are now going to have increasing death rates that will overshoot the norm and then settle back down to it.

    That is exactly what happens when you have an increase in something like longevity that is finite.

  9. ivan says:

    I wonder what would be found if they plotted the deaths in relation to wind farms. I would think that older people would be more susceptible to the effects of very low frequency sound waves pounding the body. But that sort of thing will never be investigated because it doesn’t fit the plan to de carbonise and reduce the country to a 4th world nation.

  10. Doonhamer says:

    “Winter resilience planning”
    Eh?
    My mind is boggling, and I am from North Britain.
    Cheap flights to the Mediterranean, now that that climate has decided not to visit Scotland?
    “Eh” , like “Aye, right” is a polite way the Scots have of letting you know that they have serious doubts about your statement and would like some convincing collaborative evidence.

  11. oldbrew says:

    “Winter resilience planning”

    More 4 wheel drive vehicles perhaps? 🤔

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