Public figures have shown that last year saw the highest number of deaths in a generation – with figures showing that these rates were higher than any year since 1968.
Cuts in social care budgets and a crisis in care of the elderly have both been blamed for this occurrence, after figures were found to show that 528,340 people died in 2015.
This is more than 5.6% higher than the previous year, and is the biggest increase in deaths in England and Wales since the 1960’s.
Public health experts have have warned that long-term trends suggest that this rise could turn out to be ‘the greatest rise since the Second World War’.
Professor Dominic Harrison, director of public health in Blackburn and Darwen and adviser to Public Health England, has said that this acts as a “strong warning light”, and that cuts to local authority social care budgets could be partly to blame.
Prof Harrison’s own analysis on the sudden rise backs up figures found in the Health Service Journal.
Experts have said that more needs to be done in order to understand the reasons behind the sudden spike in death rates in England and Wales – and have urged public health experts to focus on wider factors.
Final figures, which will take into account the changes in population size, by the Office of National Statistics will not be released until the summer.
Public Health England officials have said that a particularly bad strain of flu and an ineffective vaccine could be the sole cause of this rise – and say that they are monitoring this provisional data for further understanding.
Reductions in local authority social care budgets in England have had a particular affect on preventative care services that are meant to provide daily one-to-one contact for elderly people, says Prof Harrison.
Looking at a separate report by Public Health England which shows that a large number of local authorities have showed a fall in life expectancy at the age of 85 in 2014.
Converging these two sets of figures, Prof Harrison has said: “something is making the population more vulnerable to death.”
A spokesman for the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has said that the finished report will be published in July.