In common with other countries, more people die in the winter than in the summer in England and Wales.
The Office for National Statistics has created a statistical bulletin presenting provisional figures for excess winter deaths (EWD) and also the excess winter mortality (EWM) index in England and Wales for the winter period 2016 to 2017 and final figures for the winter period 2015 to 2016.
Excess winter deaths are measured by comparing the number of deaths in the period December to March with the average number of deaths in the four month periods before and after.
Jodie Withers, Health Analysis and Life Events, said:“While there has been an increase in excess winter deaths making the total the second highest over the last five winter periods, the number does not exceed the peak that was observed in the 2014 to 2015 winter period.
“The increase is likely due to the predominant strain of flu prevalent during the 2016 to 2017 winter which had greater impact on the elderly than the young.”
All of the English regions observed significant increases in excess winter mortality index between winter periods 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017, whereas excess winter mortality for Wales remained stable.
In the 2016 to 2017 winter period, there were an estimated 34,300 excess winter deaths (EWDs) in England and Wales which represents an excess winter mortality (EWM) index of 20.9 percent.
Over one-third of all excess winter deaths were caused by respiratory diseases in England and Wales in 2016 to 2017.Females and the elderly were most affected by excess winter mortality in the 2016 to 2017 winter period.