Lower mortality last winter, despite snow

There were 300 fewer deaths last year then in the previous winter

DESPITE the unusually cold weather, last winter saw the lowest number of deaths registered in the 20 most recent winters.

According to figures released today by the Registrar General, there were 19,626 deaths in Scotland in the four months of winter 2010/11 (December to March), 61 fewer than the 19,687 recorded in winter 2009/10.

The 19,626 deaths registered in the four winter months of 2010/11 exceeded both the 17,397 deaths in the preceding four-month period and the 16,957 deaths in the following four-month period.

Therefore, the seasonal difference (comparing the four winter months with the average of the four-month periods before and after the winter, and rounding the result) was 2,450 for winter 2010/11 – about 300 fewer than the 2,760 for winter 2009/10.

Commenting on ‘Winter Mortality in Scotland- 2010/11’, the Registrar General for Scotland, George MacKenzie, said today: “Last winter, the seasonal increase in the number of deaths was less than in the previous winter. Despite the unusually cold weather, winter 2010/11 had the ninth lowest seasonal increase of all the 60 winters for which we have calculated these figures.

“The long-term trend has clearly been downward. We began recording winter deaths in 1951, and the last 10 years have seen some of the lowest figures. However in recent years there has been relatively little change in the average number of deaths.

“There is no single cause of additional deaths in winter. Very few are caused by hypothermia and only a small proportion by influenza. Most are from respiratory and circulatory diseases such as pneumonia, coronary heart disease and stroke.”