2,000 more deaths during heatwave

The death rate during the 10 days in which Britain's heatwave hit its peak soared by more than 2,000, figures showed today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that between August 4 and 13 there were 15,187 deaths in England and Wales - 2,045 above the average for the past five years.

The estimated number of deaths on each of those 10 days was also above the average for the previous five years.

The extreme heat reached its peak on Sunday August 10 in Brogdale, near Faversham, Kent, where 38.5C (101.3F) was recorded.

For the following day, Monday August 11, the ONS estimated that the number of deaths peaked at 1,691 - 363 more than the average for that day over the past five years.

London, the East of England and the South East,

which saw the highest temperatures, had 6,044 deaths between August 4 and 13 - 40% of the national total.

This figure was also 1,314 above the five-year average for the same period.

Looking at August as a whole there were an estimated 1,495 deaths above average for that month over the last five years.

In comparison, in July deaths were 746 below the average for that month.

For 10 consecutive days in August, the Met Office reported temperatures above 30C (86F) at a number of its weather stations.

There has been much speculation that the hot weather led to an increase in deaths, especially among the elderly and vulnerable.

In France up to 10,000 deaths were linked to the heatwave.

The Department of Health has said it does not collect figures on heat-related deaths but was unaware of a substantial extra burden on the NHS during the heatwave.

A spokesman said there was an increase in demand in some NHS areas, mainly in the south of England, during the hot weather but trusts had been able to cope.

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