More deaths than births in Suffolk last year as mortality rate hits 10-year high

An aging population is understood to be one of the reasons behind the increased death rate in Suffol

An aging population is understood to be one of the reasons behind the increased death rate in Suffolk. Picture: THINKSTOCK - Credit: Thinkstock

The number of deaths in Suffolk last year was the highest in the last decade, new figures have revealed – with more deaths than births in the county.

Figures published by Suffolk County Council in the health cabinet member report revealed that the registrars service recorded 6,417 births in the 2017/18 year, and 7,345 deaths – 928 more deaths than births.

The report said: “Of particular note is the number of deaths, which totalled 7,345 – the highest figure we have seen in the last decade.

“January 2018 saw 914 deaths registered in one month – almost double the number that were registered the previous July.”

The number of deaths represents a 7% increase on last year.

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No firm reasons for the upturn in deaths have been given, but it is understood that an aging population is partly behind the trend.

Public Health England has reported that two thirds of all deaths in the UK occur at the age of 75 or over, but said that while the population ages the “number of deaths appears to be less stable from year to year”.

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It is also understood that the general trend nationally of an increasing population inevitably means more deaths will continue to be reported than in previous years.

Age UK Suffolk helps support people in the county needing later in life and end of life care, and believes that the aging population is having an impact.

Jo Reeder, head of marketing and fundraising at Age UK, said: “Whilst the focus of our service provision is on care and support in later life, not specifically end of life, we know from the calls and referrals we receive, that these are sometimes from people who could be in need of end of life care and support.

“There is no one factor that affects this, but the knowledge that we are living in an ageing society, could see a continued rise in these figures in the future.”

In March, The Independent reported that at the beginning of 2018 10,000 more people died than expected, but said there was no definitive reason behind the upturn.

Suffolk clinical commissioning groups have not reported an increase in the need for later in life or end of life care services, while Suffolk County Council said the county’s figures were in line with the national trend.

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