I would like to give my assurance that this is an area which is at the forefront of some key pieces of work by Barnsley Council and local partners.
We have reviewed excess deaths in Barnsley throughout the period of the pandemic, and a detailed report will be going to our Overview and Scrutiny Committee in March. This will cover both COVID-19 and other causes.
We know that death rates are commonly higher during winter months, and these deaths are largely due to predictable causes including long-term conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory conditions; flu and other seasonal viral infections; and injuries experienced by people of all ages affected by increases in falls in winter weather.
Many of the winter risk factors are preventable, using simple measures such as adequate clothing, eating well, staying active, home insulation and adequate heating, flu vaccination and alertness on the part of people and their caregivers to the increased risk of becoming unwell and the need to seek medical help early.
That’s why we continue to work hard across our council services and collaboratively with our partners to deliver strategies such as the cold weather plan, which seeks to support everyone in Barnsley to stay warm and well during winter.
The plan contains a number of measures to help prevent excess winter deaths, including access to warm homes improvements including insulation and boiler schemes, fall prevention support, making sure that eligible people are encouraged and supported to stay up to date with COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, and detailed advice and guidance on ways to keep warm and well over the winter period.
You can find more information on our stay well this winter page: barnsley.gov.uk/ready-for-winter/stay-well-this-winter This page also contains a link to our More Money in your pocket site, which can help people with the cost of living, including assistance with fuel bills.
Our cold weather plan can be read at: barnsley.gov.uk/services/our-council/our-strategies/barnsley-cold-weather-plan-202223
Julia Burrows, Executive Director of Public Health and Communities