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Excess mortality in England during the 2019 summer heatwaves

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-02, 15:26 authored by Natasha Rustemeyer, Mark HowellsMark Howells
There is increasing evidence that rising temperatures and heatwaves in the United Kingdom are associated with an increase in heat-related mortality. However, the Public Health England (PHE) Heatwave mortality monitoring reports, which use provisional death registrations to estimate heat-related mortality in England during heatwaves, have not yet been evaluated. This study aims to retrospectively quantify the impact of heatwaves on mortality during the 2019 summer period using daily death occurrences. Second, using the same method, it quantifies the heat-related mortality for the 2018 and 2017 heatwave periods. Last, it compares the results to the estimated excess deaths for the same period in the PHE Heatwave mortality monitoring reports. The number of cumulative excess deaths during the summer 2019 heatwaves were minimal (161) and were substantially lower than during the summer 2018 heatwaves (1700 deaths) and summer 2017 heatwaves (1489 deaths). All findings were at variance with the PHE Heatwave mortality monitoring reports which estimated cumulative excess deaths to be 892, 863 and 778 during the heatwave periods of 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Issues are identified in the use of provisional death registrations for mortality monitoring and the reduced reliability of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) daily death occurrences database before 2019. These findings may identify more reliable ways to monitor heat mortality during heatwaves in the future.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Climate

Volume

9

Issue

1

Publisher

MDPI AG

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by MDPI under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

2021-01-10

Publication date

2021-01-14

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

2225-1154

eISSN

2225-1154

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Mark Howells. Deposit date: 2 February 2021

Article number

14

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