Poorly insulated housing could be to blame for the "disproportionate" number of deaths during the winter months in Northamptonshire.
New government statistics have revealed there were 300 excess winter deaths recorded in Northamptonshire during 2015/16, with provisional data suggesting the figures for last winter (2016/17) could be even higher.
Unconfirmed statistics f show a significant rise in winter deaths across the region in 2016/17 with 3,200 recorded in the East Midlands - the second highest level for five years.
It means the full figures for Northamptonshire could be considerably more when the verified data is released next year.
Excess winter deaths are defined as the difference between the number of deaths in the winter months - December until March - compared with the previous and following three months.
Trade body The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) believes Northamptonshire's many rural areas could account for the spike as homes there tend to be "older with poorer insulation."
OFTEC's Malcolm Farrow said: “The government’s statistics reveal that, once again, a shockingly high number of people have died unnecessarily. There is clearly still much more to do to ensure the most vulnerable in society are kept warm and well during the winter months.
“Christmas is an expensive time of year and many struggling families may turn their heating down to save money – even though this can put their health at risk."
OFTEC has developed a guide called ‘Keeping Warm this Winter’, which can be downloaded from the OFTEC website,
· Keeping the main living room heated to a temperature of at least 21 degrees.
· Adjusting the timers on your thermostat as the weather changes.
· Bleeding your radiators to ensure the heating system is running efficiently.
· Turning off radiators in rooms you are not using to save money.
OFTEC is the trade and marketing body for the oil fired heating and cooking industry in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. To see the booklet, head to www.oftec.co.uk.