December 2012: The Office of National Statistics (ONS) last week issued its annual statistical bulletin with provisional figures of excess winter deaths (also referred to as excess winter mortality – EWM) in England and Wales for the winter period 2011/12, and final figures for the winter period 2010/11. Points to note include some important results in relation to London:
- In common with other countries, in England and Wales more people die in the winter than in the summer.
- EWM = winter deaths – average non-winter deaths
- There were an estimated 24,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2011/12 – an 8 per cent reduction compared with the previous winter.
- The regions of London, the South East and the East of England showed an increase in EWM between 2010/11 and 2011/12, with the largest percentage point increase occurring in London (2.0 percentage points higher)
- London also had the highest EWM index in 2011/12, with 18.9 per cent more deaths in winter compared with the non-winter period, compared with an average of 15.4 per cent for England and Wales
- Reference Table 2 shows that the increase in London occurred exclusively in people aged 85 and over. Furthermore, people aged 85 and over in London had the highest EWM index of any age group in any region.
- The Health Protection Agency reported that London had the highest level of influenza-like illness (ILI) within England and Wales (Health Protection Agency, 2012a), which may partly explain why this region also showed the highest level of excess winter mortality.
Direct link to the ONS bulletin here.