Excess Winter Deaths
In common with other countries, in England and Wales more people die in the winter than in the summer. Excess Winter Mortality (EWM) = winter deaths - average non-winter deaths, where the winter period is defined as December to March.
So that comparisons can be made between sexes, age groups and different areas, the Excess Winter Mortality Index index is produced. This is calculated as the number of excess winter deaths divided by the average non-winter deaths:
EWM Index = (EWM / average non-winter deaths) x 100
Key Facts for Somerset
Excess Winter Mortality can vary considerably from year to year. In Somerset, as in England generally, 2013/14 experienced unusually low EWM while 2014/15 saw the highest total for 19 years (see chart 1 below).
During Winter 2018/19 there were 318Excess Winter Deaths 16.7% more deaths than would have been expected based on the average number of deaths in non-winter months.
In 2014/15 there was a spike in excess winter deaths across England and this was also seen in Somerset. These data pre-date the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chart 1 Trends in Excess Winter Mortality, Somerset (blue line) versus England.
Source: Public Health England: Public Health Outcomes Framework
There were no significant difference in the number of excess winter deaths between Somerset, the South-West or England.