Lothians a picture of health as deaths fall below Scots average
FEWER people are dying in Edinburgh and the Lothians than anywhere else in mainland Scotland, latest figures show.
Official statistics for the first three months of this year reveal the total number of deaths across the country are at their lowest for 30 years.
A total of 2,012 people died in the Lothian health board area – a rate of ten per 1000 population, compared with the national average of 11.6 per thousand. Only Shetland recorded a lower rate at 8.5.
In Edinburgh, deaths totalled 1,127 – or 9.7 per thousand, down from ten per thousand in the same period last year.
Across Scotland, 14,830 deaths were registered in the quarter, which is 242 fewer than in the same period of 2008.
Deaths from stroke fell by 5.9 per cent and deaths from coronary heart disease 6.3 per cent, while deaths from cancer dropped 2.3 per cent.
Births also dropped in the first quarter of this year. Across Scotland, 14,505 births were registered in the first three months of the year – four per cent fewer than in the first quarter of 2008, but still almost 300 more than in the same period in 2007.
In Lothian, there were 2,374 births – 11.8 per thousand population, above the national average of 11.4 and second only to Greater Glasgow & Clyde, but down from the 2,471 births and 12.5 per thousand birth rate in the first quarter of 2008.
Edinburgh recorded 1,337 births between January and March this year but West Lothian's 550 new babies gave it the highest birth rate in the country at 13.2 per thousand population.
Registrar General for Scotland Duncan Macniven urged caution in interpreting the statistics.
He said: "Although today's figures show a record low number of deaths, we shouldn't make too much of a single quarter. Death rates fluctuate through the year and quarterly data can't be taken as indicative of the year ahead.
"Similarly, the decrease in births this quarter doesn't necessarily mean that the rise in the number of births since 2002 has ended. There have been occasional quarterly decreases during that period and the most recent four quarters taken together had more births than the equivalent period a year earlier."
Marriages and civil partnerships were also down compared with previous years. Across Scotland as a whole, marriages fell by 250 from 3,441 to 3,191.
And 53 civil partnerships – 21 male and 32 female – were registered in the quarter, down from 98 in the first quarter of 2008.
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