Prepare for winter, says Plaid AM and MP

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Jonathan Edwards MP are warning the people of Carmarthenshire, particularly those with ill health and the elderly, to keep well, warm and safe this winter.

Recent figures released by Dr Tony Jewell, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, show that excess winter deaths increased significantly in 2008/09. Dr Jewell has called for people to ensure that their homes are as energy efficient as possible so they can be adequately heated during the winter months, as well as urging those in the seasonal flu at-risk groups to get vaccinated. This campaign has been backed by Rhodri and Jonathan locally.

The report shows that in 2008/09 there was an estimated 2,500 excess winter deaths in Wales, an increase of 74 per cent compared to the year before. Of this, 34 per cent of winter deaths were caused by respiratory problems, including flu, which become exacerbated by the cold.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“We are urging people throughout the county to keep warm and look after themselves this winter. We would also urge people to look after each other, keep and eye on any vulnerable and elderly relatives or neighbours. Finally we would ask any older person experiencing difficulties with affording to keep warm and eat well to pop into our office. There may well be benefits or help that you are not currently getting and of course we will try and find out what we can do to help. With fuel prices continuing to rise we need to support our pensioners and most vulnerable in society as much as we can.”

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added:

“We are especially concerned during this difficult economic time that people vulnerable to the cold in winter will struggle financially to ensure their homes are fully heated. Winter is an expensive time, especially for the elderly but they should not have to worry about basic rights such as staying warm. There are grants and schemes available to help with the cost of heating for people over the age of 60 or those with children under the age of 16 and I would urge anyone that qualifies for these to take advantage of them.”

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