Wednesday, March 13th 2013, 11:11 AM EDT
BRITAIN’S relentless big freeze has sparked fears of the highest winter death rate for five years.
The brutal Arctic blast has seen temperatures plummet to -13C (9F) amid what could be the coldest March for almost three decades.
Pensioner groups warned the death rate among Britain’s elderly has already soared this winter with fears it could hit 30,000 - 6,000 more than last year.
The National Federation of Occupational Pensioners (NFOP) said deaths among its members had more than quadrupled since the end of last year.
Chief executive Malcolm Booth said this could escalate to “horrendous figures” if the extreme cold continues.
He said almost 500 NFOP members died last month compared to just 102 in December, and double the January figure.
He said: “We have seen the death rate in the past month alone quadruple since December last year and if the cold weather continues we could be looking at horrendous figures
“At the rate we are going, and if this extreme cold continues we could be looking at 30,000 or more.
“Many elderly health conditions are worsened by cold weather and there is a definite risk of the highest national winter mortality figures since 2008-09.”
The last time the excess winter deaths passed 30,000 was the winter of 2008/09 when 36,450 people died, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
National Pensioners Convention (NPC) spokesman Neil Duncan-Jordan said: “During periods of extreme cold, death rate figures among the elderly are likely to rise.
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Source Link: express.co.uk