A spate of viral illnesses led to the highest number of winter deaths in Dundee for a decade, a medical chief has revealed.
New figures have shown that 688 people died in the city between December and March, up from 525 the previous year.
The figures matched the position across Scotland, where there was an overall number of deaths rise.
However, Dr Andrew Russell, NHS Tayside medical director, says there were some specific reasons for the spike in this region despite a lower level of flu than average.
He said: “Today’s figures show that last winter was a challenging one for health boards across the country.
“However, these figures should not be considered in isolation as they are influenced by many factors, such as the weather and the increasing frailty of an aging population.
“During last year’s winter period, NHS Tayside experienced a significant increase in the number of patients being admitted into our hospitals from the community with viral illnesses, including respiratory conditions with many patients acutely ill.
“While in many cases, flu may not have been the main cause of death, it can aggravate underlying long-term conditions and may have impacted on the sick and elderly last winter.
“It is important that we do everything we can to prevent serious illness this winter.”
A spokesman for charity Age Scotland believes the problem is linked to people’s living conditions.
He said: “The poor condition of Scotland’s existing housing stock means much of the energy older people use trying to stay warm will be lost.”