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Preliminary statistics show 'spike in deaths' during UK's hottest day on record

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Preliminary statistics show 'spike in deaths' during UK's hottest day on record
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Hundreds more deaths than average were recorded on the UK's hottest day on record this year, provisional data has shown.

The data, released by the Office For National Statistics (ONS), shows a spike in deaths on July 25 of this year - the same day the UK recorded its hottest temperature of 38.7C.

It also recorded an increase of more than 200 deaths than average when compared with the same day in the previous six years.

A total of 1,473 people died on July 25 this year, in comparison to the 1,179 people who died on the same day in 2013 and 1286 in 2014.

But the ONS highlighted that this data for 2019 is still provisional and is therefore likely to increase due to the time it takes to register a death.

When also comparing statistics for deaths in 2018 with a five-year average, the ONS said: "some days have more deaths than we would expect."

It added: "The comparatively high number of deaths occur mainly on days that are defined as heatwaves by Public Health England (PHE) in their deaths relating to heatwaves report."

Looking at the same data, the ONS also found there was a drop below the five-year average following periods of a rise in deaths.

This resulted in what appeared to be a day-to-day rise during the timeframe of a heatwave, but meant deaths across the period of a summer remained relatively similar.

"This could be because the most vulnerable people, for example, those with pre-existing respiratory or cerebrovascular diseases are more susceptible to death during heatwaves," the report noted.

The ONS report was released a month after France also recorded a rise in deaths during heatwaves over the summer.

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told local radio stations that there had been nearly 1,500 deaths more than average during two heatwaves in June and July.

But, at the time, she stressed that such a figure was much lower than the 15,000 deaths recorded during a heatwave in 2003.