Winter deaths in Lothian are expected to have soared
Figures from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) have shown that the predicted number of “winter deaths” are expected to soar this winter in Lothian.
The figures demonstrate that expected deaths between December and March this year are expected to rise to 3,139 in an increase of 336 deaths, 12%, compared to the same period last year.
Deaths during the winter months are generally higher than the rest of the year due to increased levels of seasonal diseases such as influenza and pneumonia.
The figures highlight that the number of increased mortalities in the winter period (seasonal difference) is expected to increase, as well as the number of winter deaths. Since last year, 2016/17, the number of increased mortalities in the winter period in Lothian is expected to increase by 256 deaths to 578, an increase of 80%.
Since 2011, the seasonal difference in winter deaths across Scotland will increase by approximately 330%.
Although the figures for 2017/18 are provisional, the NRS have indicated that only a “small percentage” of these statistics are likely to change significantly.
The upward trend in winter deaths follows reports that the Scottish Government did not acquire enough flu vaccinations this year and have instructed GPs to only administer the precautionary measure to those aged over 75.
Lothian MSP Miles Briggs has admonished the Scottish Government’s “failure to prepare” for the winter weather and has called on the SNP to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to protect people.
Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP, said:
“This is a stark warning to the SNP that they must prepare the NHS properly for winter and ensure that all our elderly and vulnerable patients get the recommended flu vaccination.
“Recent winter crises have been predicted, and then compounded by the SNP’s lack of planning, lack of NHS capacity and lack of roll out of the flu vaccine.
“This year, the SNP is denying over 65s the most effective flu vaccine, which could lead to more elderly people having more incidence and more complications due to flu.
“As these worrying statistics continue to emerge, it is quite clear that the SNP cannot be trusted to run our health service.”