Rise in deaths in Suffolk is attributed to baby boomer generation reaching later years
- Credit: Su Anderson
The number of deaths in Suffolk has increased by nearly 30% in the first quarter of this year - with experts attributing it to the baby boomer generation reaching their later years. Some funeral services said the increase had led to a delay in booking crematoriums with waits of up to three weeks.
Figures provided by Suffolk County Council show the number of deaths registered for the first three months of the year was 2,142, an increase of 471 compared to the same period last year.
January saw the largest increase when 182 more deaths were registered compared to the previous January. From April 1 last year until December 31 the number of deaths was 6,931, which is already higher than the 6,554 registered from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014.
The spike has been seen across the UK, according to a report by the county’s council’s former cabinet member for resource management, Jenny Antill, which was presented to the authority last week.
It states: “Since December 2014 there has been an increase in deaths of approximately 30%, which is a figure repeated across the country. The Coroners’ Service has seen an increase in referrals during this period in excess of 30%”
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A Suffolk County Council spokesman added: “We aren’t able to offer suggestions into the reasons for this increase as there are likely to be a wide range of potential causes and factors.”
Andrew Bingham, owner of Andrew Bingham Independent Funeral Services in Stowmarket, said: “Since December it has been incredibly busy; the crematoriums, just everywhere have been a lot busier. I think it’s just starting to quieten down.”
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He said the increase in deaths had meant it had been taking longer to book a funeral in, with waits of two to three weeks.
“That wasn’t because we weren’t able to do it,” he said. “But we just couldn’t get times at the crematorium.”
He said normally it takes 10 working days to two weeks from when someone has died to a service at the crematorium.
Mr Bingham said he understood the reason for the 30% increase in deaths was due to the baby boomer generation reaching their later years.
A report by think tank, the International Longevity Centre-UK, said: “After decades of the number of deaths in the UK falling, 2015 will mark a tipping point where the historic trend starts to reverse: as the oldest of the baby boomer generation move through their later years deaths are predicted to rise by 20%.”
A spokesman for L Fulcher Funeral Services said while there had been an increased demand for their services, feedback indicated levels of customer service had remained very high.
“Over the last 20 years the number of deaths in the UK in any calendar year fluctuates by approximately 5%. When we experience a large variance in the number of deaths in the first three months of the year the death rate traditionally falls in the later months of that year,” he added.
A spokesman for the East of England Co-op added: “We are often busier during the first few months of the year and this year we were busier than normal. This is something that we plan for very carefully to ensure every funeral we conduct delivers the compassion and care that our clients expect for themselves and their loved ones.”