Release of ONS Excess Winter Mortality in England & Wales statistics

On the 29th of November 2012, the Office for National Statistics released Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales. The statistical bulletin contains excess winter death final data for the year 2010/11 as well as provisional data for 2011/12. The bulletin also contains breakdowns by sex, age, region and cause of death, alongside figures on temperature and influenza incidence (in order to provide context to the mortality figures).  Historical trends from 1950/51 onward are also presented for comparison.

Key Findings for England and Wales

  • There were an estimated 24,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2011/12 – an 8 percent reduction compared with the previous winter.
  • As in previous years there were more excess winter deaths in females than in males in 2011/12.
  • Between 2010/11 and 2011/12 male excess winter deaths decreased from 11,270 to 10,700, and female deaths from 14,810 to 13,300.
  • The majority of deaths occurred among those aged 75 and over; there were 19,500 excess winter deaths in this age group in 2011/12 compared with 4,500 in the under 75-year-olds.
  • The excess winter mortality index was highest in London in 2011/12, whereas in 2010/11 it was highest in Wales. Wales had one of the lowest levels of excess winter mortality last winter, second only to the North East of England.

Excess Winter Deaths 2011-12


Unusually deaths peaked in February 2012, whereas normally the highest mortality is seen in January (see graph).  There was a period from 12 February to 2 March when daily deaths exceeded the five year average by more than 70 deaths per day.  This higher mortality is likely to be related to increased influenza, as this peak in deaths coincided with the peak in influenza-like illness rate and in addition to this February was the coldest winter month.

Local Authority level statistics

For the first time this year, figures for Excess Winter Mortality (EWM) are available at Local Authority level for final data (2010/11).  However, due to such small numbers at this level, there are random fluctuations meaning that EWM figures at local authority level are quite variable from one year to the next. As there is no consistent pattern, limited analysis can be performed.  Averaging the five Local Authorities in Warwickshire does reveal a pattern which largely reflects the regional and national trend, but still the trend is more varied due to the smaller figures.

Further information on Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales is available on the Office for National Statistics website.

The West Midlands Public Health Observatory is expected to release an Excess Winter Death Instant Atlas tool update in December. The tool is currently available at a regional level for the years 2006-2009 and can be accessed from the following link: Excess Winter Deaths in England Atlas.

One Response

  1. […] Full details can be found on-line at Warwickshire Observatory. […]

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