§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the number of deaths in each month in 1985 and 1986 (a) in which hypothermia was cited as a contributory factor and (b) in which hypothermia was cited as the cause.
§ Mrs. Currie
The tables show the number of deaths registered in England and Wales by month for 1985 and to the latest available month of 1986(a) with any mention of hypothermia on the death certificate, irrespective of whether it was or was not stated as the underlying cause of death, and (b) with hypothermia stated as the underlying cause of death. The figures for underlying cause for 1986 exclude deaths at age under 28 days. This is because of the introduction of a neonatal death certificate on 1 January 1986, from which it is not possible to assign an underlying cause of death.
(a) Number of deaths registered by month with any mention of hypothermia on death certificate England and Wales 1985–86 Month of registration 1985 1986 January 211 102 February 165 174 March 131 190 April 76 106
Month of registration 1985 1986 May 49 69 June 23 32 July 13 12 August 11 13 September 13 17 October 23 n/a November 44 n/a December 68 n/a
(b) Number of deaths registered by month with hypothermia as underlying cause of death1 England and Wales 1985–86 Month of registration 1985 19862 January 106 41 February 89 86 March 81 109 April 47 65 May 28 36 June 12 18 July 11 6 August 7 6 September 2 7 October 11 n/a November 20 n/a December 26 n/a Note: All figures for 1986 are provisional. 1 International Classification of Diseases 9th revision 991.6 and 778.3. 2 Excludes deaths under age 28 days.
n/a = not available
§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what measures he intends to take in the winter of 1986–87 to prevent further deaths from hypothermia.
§ Mr. Major
The Government are supporting initiatives to provide elderly people and those caring for them with advice on how to minimise the effects of cold. A comprehensive new pack of training materials and information on this subject for those in contact with elderly people is being launched today by the Health Education Council. "Warmth in Winter", a leaflet published by the council containing simple, practical advice on keeping warm, aimed directly at elderly people, will also continue to be available.
Considerable help is given towards heating costs through the supplementary benefit scale rates and weekly heating additions. Furthermore, the Government have referred to the Social Security Advisory Committee proposals for a new, simplified system of exceptionally severe weather payments.