Blackpool death rates one of the highest in the North West during winter
Blackpool has one of the highest rates of excess winter deaths in the North West, official figures show.
Around 32 per cent more people died in winter than in summer on average, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Across the rest of the North West, that figure is 18 per cent.
Every year, more people die in winter than in summer - due to colder temperatures, respiratory diseases and outbreaks of flu.
To measure the impact, the ONS compares the number of additional deaths between December and March to the rest of the year.
During the winter of 2016-17, the latest period figures are available, there were approximately 180 excess winter deaths in Blackpool.
This meant 32 per cent more people died during winter in Blackpool, compared with the yearly average.
This was higher than in the previous year when there were 13 per cent more deaths during winter.
According to the ONS, small population sizes can cause a significant amount of year-on-year variation at a local level.
Across the North West, winter was most deadly for people aged 85 and older.
Out of 4,000 excess winter deaths in the North West, 3,610 were older than 65, and 2,100 older than 85.
Across England and Wales, the rate of excess winter deaths varies from as low as four per cent to as high as 51 per cent.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the data raised concerns “as to why there is such variation even between areas in a single region”.
He said: “This data must act as a prompt to those in power to look at these trends and recognise that the capacity of the health service is being stretched beyond all measures in winter.
“We have an older, frailer population with increasingly complex medical problems, a lack of funding across health and social care to meet demand, a recruitment crisis and persistently poor performance.”
Provisional data for England and Wales shows that excess winter deaths hit their highest level in more than 40 years during 2017-18.
There were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths, 45 per cent higher than the previous year.