THE Mayor of Sheffield City hosted a round-table event to try and tackle excess winter deaths.

Experts from across the region gathered to begin crucial work on the issue.

Dan Javis, Mayor of the Sheffield City region as well as Barnsley Central MP, said: “It may seem strange to be talking about winter deaths in the summer. But it is a national scandal that thousands of people, most of them elderly, die every winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes and succumb to the cold weather as a result.

“We cannot wait for the cold weather to hit before tackling this issue.”

The aim of the session in Sheffield was to understand what activity is already taking place; the challenges councils, the NHS, Public Health, and the third sector organisations are facing, and identify where improvements can be made through sharing learning and best practice.

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Every year, vulnerable and elderly people die due to the cold weather, principally from respiratory diseases and hypothermia, as they cannot afford to heat their homes.

The meeting was attended by delegates including Julia Burrows, Barnsley’s director of public health and Julie Tolhurst, public health principal for Barnsley Council.

Tackling excess winter deaths is a key priority for Mr Jarvis. He has previously raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions.