Excess winter deaths
In Rochdale, the winter mortality index of 10.7% was significantly below the England average of 42.8% and below the CIPFA average of 34.9%. (ONS Annual Births and Mortality Extracts 2021).
What are excess winter deaths?
In common with most countries, more people die in the winter compared to the summer months in England and Wales. High cold-related mortality is associated with low indoor temperatures and people not wearing appropriate clothing in cold weather.
Around a third of excess winter deaths are caused by respiratory diseases, with other causes such as cerebrovascular diseases, ischaemic heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer's disease also featuring as leading causes in the majority of winter deaths.
Older people spend a substantial amount of time at home and respiratory diseases are often caused or made worse by damp and cold conditions in the home so a large proportion of winter deaths are in the older age groups. The impact of excess winter deaths can be so great as to make a significant contribution to lower life expectancy in an area.
How are excess winter deaths calculated?
Excess winter deaths are defined using the Excess Winter Deaths Index (EWD Index). It measures excess winter deaths through the ratio of extra deaths from all causes that occur in the winter months, December to March, compared with the expected number of deaths. This expected figure is based on the average number of deaths in the preceding August to November and following April to July.
Statistics on excess winter deaths
- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - Older people's health and wellbeing profile - the Older People's Health and Wellbeing Profile can be used to examine the health and care of older people. It's designed to support those responsible for delivering strategies for prevention and early intervention to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults.
Guidance and information on excess winter deaths
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance - Excess winter deaths and illness and the health risks associated with cold homes - NICE has produced guidance on excess winter deaths that covers reducing the health risks, including preventable deaths, associated with living in a cold home. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people vulnerable to the cold.