Government response

ONS Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales statistics - Department of Health response

The Department of Health has responded to the ONS Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales statistics which were published today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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A Department of Health spokesperson said:

This rise in deaths is concerning, but we know from a report published by Public Health England this August that increased excess deaths in 2012-13 were occurring across Europe and coincided with an unusually prolonged influenza season and late cold period.

The NHS is well prepared for winter health issues, and this includes ensuring that people who are vulnerable to the cold are getting the help they need in the community.

The annual flu vaccination campaign is underway and has been extended to 2-3 year olds to help prevent the spread of the virus to those who are more vulnerable. Public Health England has put in place the Cold Weather Plan, which includes simple and effective measures to help people stay healthy at home.

In addition, we are supporting A&E departments to prepare for the expected increase in demand over winter – firstly with £250 million funding, and now an extra £150 million from NHS England.

Published 26 November 2013