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Slight decline in number of avoidable deaths

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The number of “avoidable deaths” has declined but still accounts for almost a quarter of fatalities, figures suggest.

Deaths from potentially avoidable causes accounted for 26% of deaths in 2001, but a decade on the proportion had fallen to 24%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This means that 113,910 out of 484,367 deaths in England and Wales could potentially have been avoided.

Avoidable deaths include those that could have been prevented through medical care and those attributable to diseases that could have been stopped through public health measures - for instance, if someone dies from measles or lung cancer.

The ONS said men are more likely to die from avoidable causes, at about 29% compared with 18% for women.

A spokesman said ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of avoidable deaths, accounting for 18% in 2011.

June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We’ve made great progress in tackling heart disease through better research, prevention and care but these latest figures show we’ve still got a fight on our hands.

“Heart disease doesn’t need to claim the thousands of lives it currently does. If more of us kept active, ate a healthy balanced diet and stopped smoking, and over-40s ensured they attended their NHS Health Check, it could help us to make even better progress.

“It’s also not good enough that people from the poorest communities are around three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than people from the most affluent.

“Addressing these inequalities will hopefully mean a future where coronary heart disease is no longer the UK’s single biggest killer.”

 

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Readers' comments (2)

  • A slight decline is NOT good enough

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  • not much consolation for those unfortunate enough to count among those statistics or their loved ones!

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