This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Figures released today by National Records of Scotland show that fewer deaths were registered in Scotland last winter than the previous year.

Gerry McCartney, Head of the Scottish Public Health Observatory, NHS Health Scotland said:

“The winter mortality figures for 2018/19 show that there are fewer winter deaths than in previous years. This could mean that the stall in life expectancy we have seen since 2012 is due to a change in the trends across the whole year, not just in winter. This reinforces our understanding that the stall in life expectancy is due to a change in almost all causes of death, for all age groups, and across all seasons.

“It’s concerning that these trends are worse in our poorer communities leading to widening inequalities. Overall, this means that people in Scotland are dying unnecessarily in midlife over the last seven years. This is not only unfair, and preventable, but also means this inequality is behind the lack of improvement in life expectancy since 2012.

“We know that the causes of this changed trend is primarily economic.  Changes to the social security system, funding pressures for public services, lower incomes and employment are all important factors.  Although this changed trend has been seen across the UK and the USA, many other countries have continued to see improving life expectancy and I’m optimistic that we can too.

“It is important that we collectively recognise the implications of this changed trend on public health and take action. We are working with partners across Scotland and the UK to complete a programme of research to develop recommendations for an appropriate response, including measures to reduce poverty and fund public services to ensure everyone’s needs are met.”


For more information on the 2018/19 winter mortality figures, visit the National Records of Scotland website.