Exmouth charity’s bid to prevent deaths

PUBLISHED: 14:42 19 November 2010

AGE Concern Exmouth are warning that pensioners could needlessly die from the cold this winter unless an emergency plan is put in place.

AGE Concern Exmouth are warning that pensioners could needlessly die from the cold this winter unless an emergency plan is put in place.

The Rolle Street-based charity is calling on the Government, East Devon District Council, Devon County Council and the town hall to work together to prevent deaths from hypothermia.

The Government’s Chief Medical Officer says that one in every 20 pensioner deaths this winter will be because of the cold.

Age Concern says the cost of Government and council inaction is huge - not only are dozens of older people’s lives at risk but even more will be admitted to hospital and many more will need outpatient care and need support from social services.

They suggest that by relieving the double impact of cold and debt, from energy bills for example, they could reduce depression by half and visits to the GP by a quarter.

In a bid to bring home the urgent need for action Age Concern Exmouth has sent copies of its new campaign booklet ‘Excess winter deaths; preventing an avoidable tragedy’ to MP Hugo Swire and councils.

But the charity is also calling on the public to support the campaign by sending a ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign postcard to their local MP to request support for nationally coordinated, locally delivered energy plan to make sure that older people don’t die or become ill unnecessarily.

Maria Bridle, information consultant said: “It is a tragedy that’s hundreds of older people in Exmouth cannot afford to keep warm during the winter months.

“We urgently need an emergency national and local winter plan in place to ensure that vulnerable older people are protected from the effects of the cold weather this winter.”

For information on the benefits and grants available to help with heating bills and advice on keeping warm you can call Age Concern Exmouth on: (01395) 271242.

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