Winter deaths in Scotland hit 30 year high

The causes of death with the largest seasonal increase were dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Winter deaths in Scotland hit 30 year high as population ages iStock

Winter deaths in Scotland have reached the highest level in 33 years.

National Records of Scotland released its Winter Mortality in Scotland report on Tuesday which shows the seasonal increase in deaths recorded across the country.

Figures show that deaths in Scotland last winter were at the highest level since 1989/90.

24,427 deaths were recorded between December 2022 to March 2023.

There was a seasonal increase of 4,137 additional deaths in winter, from the December to March period, compared with the non-winter periods.

Howver, while the increase may seem substantial, it is considerably lower than previous winters of 2017/18 and 2020/21, National Records of Scotland (NRS) said.

The cause of death with the largest seasonal increase was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease which accounted for 640 additional deaths.

There were 310 additional deaths due to Covid during this period.

The statistics found that since 2019 there have been fewer than ten deaths per year directly associated with cold weather such as hypothermia.

Daniel Burns, head of vital events statistics at NRS, said: “Today’s figures show that deaths in winter are at their highest level since 1989/90.

“The longer-term downward trend shows a recent increase in winter deaths, which may be partly driven by Scotland’s ageing population.

“Winter months generally see more deaths than other times of the year, however the seasonal increase in winter mortality fluctuates year on year.

“Older age groups are consistently the most affected by increased mortality in winter.

“For people aged 85 and over, there were 29% more winter deaths compared to 12% in the under 65 population.”

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