Scotland winter death toll lowest since records began

Cars in the snow Image copyright Graham Walter
Image caption Most winter deaths are from diseases such as pneumonia, coronary heart disease and stroke

The number of deaths registered in Scotland last winter was the lowest since records began more than 60 years ago, according to official figures.

There were 18,675 deaths registered in Scotland in the four months before March 2014 - the lowest figure since 1951/52.

The figures are part of a general downward trend in winter deaths.

Most winter deaths are caused by respiratory and circulatory diseases such as pneumonia and stroke.

National Records of Scotland showed that the 18,675 registered deaths in the four winter months of 2013/14 exceeded the number of deaths in the preceding and following four-month periods, which were 16,848 and 17,297 respectively.

Seasonal difference

The seasonal difference is obtained by comparing the four winter months with the average of the four-month periods before and after the winter, and rounding the result. The figure for winter 2013/14 was 1,600.

This was 400 below the figure for the previous winter and the second lowest figure since records began.

Tim Ellis, chief executive of the National Records of Scotland, said that there are always more deaths in the winter in Scotland than in any other season.

He added: "The long-term trend over the last 60 years or so has clearly been downward. The five-year moving average, which smoothes out much of the year-to-year fluctuation, is at its lowest ever level.

"There is no single cause of additional deaths in winter. Very few are caused by hypothermia and only a small proportion by influenza. Most are from respiratory and circulatory diseases such as pneumonia, coronary heart disease and stroke."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites