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Doctors and nurses at Epsom, St Helier and Sutton hospitals are urging people to look out for elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours.

More than 25,000 deaths are linked to the cold weather every winter, including older people who can find themselves vulnerable during wintery spells.

Pippa Hart, the Trust’s Director of Nursing said: “Weather like this makes it far more difficult for people to get out and about and this is especially so for older and more vulnerable people.

“I have no doubt that, like the last time we had a cold spell, we will see a significant increase in the number of people brought into our A&E departments because of injuries or illnesses brought on by the cold weather.

“Many of these patients will be elderly and vulnerable people who have fallen on ice and end up with broken bones, and others will be suffering with seasonal illnesses, such as flu or norovirus. Others will have medical conditions which are made worse by the cold, such as asthma and bronchitis.

“At times like these it is important that we remember our old and vulnerable neighbours and relatives. We should check that they are okay, help clear their paths if they’re icy or do some shopping for them.

"It is also important to make sure that they are keeping warm as they will feel the cold more than others, and that can lead to serious health problems, such as pneumonia.”