WINTER DEATHS in Scotland reached their lowest recorded level for more than 60 years last year, new figures have revealed.
Data from National Records of Scotland showed there were 18,657 deaths during the four months from the period November 2013 to February 2014 - the lowest total registered since records began in 1951/52.
The number of “additional” deaths over the winter months when compared to the rest of the year was the second lowest recorded, with an estimated 1,600 more fatalities during this period.
That is a drop of 400 on winter 2012/13 while only the winter of 2011/12 has a lower total, with 1,420 additional deaths that season.
The last 14 years have had seven out of the 10 lowest totals for additional winter deaths, according to the National Records of Scotland.
Chief executive Tim Ellis said: “There are always more deaths in the winter in Scotland than in any other season but last winter had the second lowest seasonal increase in all the years, since 1951/52, for which we have figures.
“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.”
He added: “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.”