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Webchat with Dan Jarvis on excess winter deaths

(51 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 30-Jun-16 17:02:02

We're pleased to announce that gransnetters will have the chance to ask Labour MP Dan Jarvis their questions during a webchat on Tuesday 12th July at midday. Dan is currently campaigning on excess winter deaths among older people.

The ONS estimates that 43,900 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2014/15. The majority of excess winter deaths for both sexes occurred amongst those aged 75 and over, with women aged 85 and over being the most vulnerable. Dan’s aim is to find out why this is happening, and to persuade local authorities and other agencies involved in the care of older people to work together to address any gaps in services.

Dan has now launched a petition asking the government to introduce a national strategy to reduce excess winter deaths - and he's asked us to draw it to your attention.

You can sign the petition here.

Please do add your questions to the thread below, and we'll post Dan's answers back on this thread during the webchat.

durhamjen Fri 01-Jul-16 22:18:26

Why do you feel the need to have a petition when it's something that Ageuk have been researching for a long time?

JessM Mon 04-Jul-16 23:10:37

Welcome back Dan.
I’m sure we all welcome your interest in this area. A huge amount of insulation etc has been done and homes are an awful lot better than they were. But the quick wins are already in the bag.
Poverty, habitual behaviour and under-occupancy (one older person living in a 3/4 bed house) are key issues.
The links between cold weather and excess deaths are not easy to understand.
Behavioural issues are involved - how heating systems are used for instance. We never managed to persuade my mother-in-law not to leave her bedroom and bathroom windows (including while the heating was on) despite multiple attempts by different family members. Not even after a burglar tried to climb into her bedroom window one night!
We do need a strategy but it is very difficult to know what it might contain. (not sure that NICE's extensive list of suggestions is the way forward).
While out campaigning (for the Labour Party and Remain) it struck me that at one time councils were building lots of bungalows for elderly people. But no more. Despite the projected increase in older people who will reach a stage where they can't cope with stairs.
Possibly the best single thing we could do is to start building social housing aimed at the needs of older people again - very energy efficient bungalows if land is available or energy efficient apartment complexes if land is more expensive. What do you reckon?

Grannyknot Wed 06-Jul-16 07:19:58

Hi Dan. I was interested to hear about this issue, because I was unaware that it was a problem and having come to live in the UK from the Southern Hemisphere in my early 50s, insulation and heating is a priority in my house.

I've been reading about the Buurtzorg model of care introduced in the Netherlands.

In a nutshell, it is a return to "old-fashioned" district nursing where the local community nurse, a generalist nurse, takes care of all the patient's social care and health needs in a holistic way. Nurses work in small, self managed teams and build up relationships with their customers or patients. It is cost effective and there are high levels of patient or customer satisfaction reported. Have you heard about it and could it help with this problem?

Grannyknot Wed 06-Jul-16 07:41:59

( durhamjen clearly because Age UK haven't actually done anything about it, apart from years of research ...)

Anyway, reason I'm back on here smile is I see Kings College are showcasing Buurtzorg at a conference next week, the founder is a speaker:

durhamjen Wed 06-Jul-16 07:51:23

The question was to Dan, Grannyknot.

JellyBaby Wed 06-Jul-16 17:11:16

Fear is a motivator. The excess winter deaths in the elderly is a shameful disgrace. Older pensioners, women particularly, are fearful of not being able to pay for continually increasing fuel costs. So why does Baroness Ros Altmann tell us that it would cost too much and it would not be fair for older pensioners to receive the new State Pensions which they have received for a number of years and effectively were better off?

MoBrown Thu 07-Jul-16 10:18:32

Ok, so there's a petition but HOW exactly are you going to find these people who are affected. Many of them are alone and disconnected.

Smileless2012 Fri 08-Jul-16 15:06:59

I don't understand why the winter fuel allowance is given to all when they reach the required age and not reserved for those who really need it.

Surely it makes sense for everyone to apply for the allowance and it be allocated according to means. The same amount made available would be much better spent on those who really are in need.

Luckylegs9 Sun 10-Jul-16 13:39:47

I think for pensions to be means tested, which it would be if people applied, would mean that the people that need it would not apply, people are not applying for benefits they are entitled too now because they don't like filling in forms or want people to know their business, so whilst everyone does get fuel allowance, those that do not need it could help a charity of their choice and the money go to a worthy cause of their choosing. This was discussed at our WI with those that didn't need it, had never donated the money? District nurses are invaluable to older people that are stuck in their homes with hardly any visitors, they get to know a person and become friendly with them. It is dreadful the way very old people are hardly visited by families they loved so much, they are dying in a way from neglect. They should have a visit from someone at least once a week who could pick up on potential problems. My late mother in law used to have a mini bus from a local church, pick her up once a week and take her to the church hall where she could sit and chat with others the same age as herself, have a meal and go home happy. The day before a hairdresser would go to her home and do her hair for her. This made do much difference to her last years, if someone had been there in an official capacity to advise in benefits and help available in the community that would have been the ideal venue. It should be part of the school curriculum to teach the young that they have a duty of care to older people, because they are not learning it in the home.

nevertoolate Sun 10-Jul-16 18:54:12

Could not agree with you more Luckylegs. What do you say, Dan? Is this something you could help implement? Educating younger people about looking after older people/basic empathy does need to start earlier so people don't begrudge the resources needed for older people. Yes, it's up to the government to help look after our elderly but also up to us as communities.

petitpois Sun 10-Jul-16 18:58:56

I'm interested in what Scandinavian countries with colder climates do that is different to here? Do they have more government funding, stronger communities, traditionally stronger family ties? What is it that makes their level of winter deaths in the elderly much lower than ours?

starbird Sun 10-Jul-16 19:34:28

I understand that it would not be cost effective to means test the fuel allowance, but what if it was only given to people sho pay no tax? Also the ridiculous Christmas pament of £10 should be scrapped or increased to £100.
Some old people sit all day huddled found an electric heater, they must be vulnerable to DVD and weak limbs and stiffness. Perhaps we should have -0 min easy e ercise programs on daytime tv every hour!
Others are probably suffering from depdesxion. I am only 69 but housework, gardening, forcing myself to go out and join things, is such an effort and result in so many aches and pains I could easily give up.
It sould help if there was a doctor to turn to who actually listened, and if simple operations that helped with the pain were made more feadily and speedily available before you got before the point of no return.
They used to say pneumonia was the old man's friend. Pethaps we should stop trying to cure it - just the right to die by another name.

starbird Sun 10-Jul-16 19:35:58

Sorry for all typos meant to press preview not post. Too late now!

RedBus Mon 11-Jul-16 10:10:43

Hello Dan

Can't believe Brexit hasn't come up yet! Surely if we leave the EU (and don't have free movement of people into the UK) the supply of low-paid workers willing to look after our older people for pennies is going to dry up. (I'm not saying it's right that people should have to work for pennies - but the truth is that lots of the low-paid carers looking after our older people are economic migrants from poorer EU countries, right?)

Isn't Brexit going to be a disaster for social care?

meep Mon 11-Jul-16 16:00:48

I applaud what you are trying to do, but given the events of the last couple of weeks and the fact that both government and opposition are in a total state of disarray do you think they will be too busy trying to untangle the almighty mess to take this on board?

jacinth66 Mon 11-Jul-16 16:03:42

My question is sort of related to the last two. I'm not aware of how things stand on this issue in other countries but how much (ir at all) will what you are trying to do be affected by being in or out of the EU?

mrsph Mon 11-Jul-16 16:09:13

Given the constant inter generational arguing we keep hearing about all the more so since the referendum, I wondered if anything specific had provoked your interest not only in the excess winter deaths area but also general care for the elderly which I understand is another of your specific concerns.

Izzybee Mon 11-Jul-16 17:15:03

Dear Mr Jarvis - there was a question on the last thread when you did the mumsnet webchat that didn't get answered because of time so I'm cutting and pasting it here as I am interested in the answer. I believe it was from teetime - "Dan what is your reaction to the report in yesterdays press that the 111 service is causing excess deaths by being slow to respond and giving inaccurate advice and indeed that this has been known about for some time?"

Thank you in advance

macnuggets Mon 11-Jul-16 17:39:15

Not now, obviously, but would you stand for leader at some time in the future?

Izzybee Mon 11-Jul-16 17:42:38

Also on the last thread were a few questions about flu jabs and how cuts mean many older people can't travel to surgeries to get theirs and surely this must contribute to excess deaths. Presumably this contributes to the excess and must be looked at in addition to fuel etc. How would you like to see this addressed?

balancingact Tue 12-Jul-16 09:29:48


you do great work Dan, thank you. i'd love to see you in government. chances look pretty slim at the moment sadly. how can Labour make themselves back into a credible opposition? we need you!!!!

kaybh Tue 12-Jul-16 09:51:15

One thing we have seen with Brexit is older people being blamed for the result (many older people are saying if younger people had actually bothered to vote... But that's another story). I'm interested to know what you think this means for inter generational harmony and also for sympathies towards you excess deaths campaign. I realise the people affected by the latter are older but am still finding the old/young divide generally worrying after the referendum

somewherehot Tue 12-Jul-16 10:03:12

Why are the rates of death so much higher for women than men? Is it simply due to longevity or are there other factors?

ght5264 Tue 12-Jul-16 10:09:19

Theresa May will become PM tomorrow. What are your thoughts on this - both generally and specifically regarding your campaign.......