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It is important to monitor the number of deaths (mortality) observed over a specified time. These are best compared as rates per 100,000 population, standardised to take account of differences in the structure of the population so that we are comparing like with like. For instance, one area might have a lower death rate than another simply because the proportion of younger people living there is higher than the second area. Standardisation takes account of these differences between areas.


All Cause Mortality, Midlothian, NHS Lothian and Scotland
Data source: National Records of Scotland

Line graph showing all cause mortality in Scotland, Lothian and Midlothian. Midlothian has a slightly lower rate than Scotland and Lothian is lower than Midlothian. The 3-year rolling average has not changed much over time from 2009-2011 to 2020-2022.


We expect to see a relationship between the relative socioeconomic deprivation of an area and the mortality rate, with the most deprived areas having the highest mortality rate. This relationship is found in Midlothian.  When Midlothian is broken down into two localities the numbers that underpin the rates are small and so subject to much greater variation.  The higher-than-expected mortality rates in Midlothian East in SIMD 4 and 5 for instance may be due to influences such as the location of care homes.


All Cause Mortality by SIMD 2020, Crude Rate per 100,000 population, 2022
Data source: Public Health Scotland & National Records Scotland 

Midlothian had a higher mortality rate than NHS Lothian in SIMD 2 to 4.  In NHS Lothian, the most deprived (SIMD1) had the highest mortality rate, with 1,178 per 100,000, while the least deprived (SIMD5) had 798 per 100,000.  This was not the case in Midlothian and its localities, with SIMD2, the 2nd most deprived group having the highest rates in Midlothian and Midlothian West with 1,191 and 1,283 per 100,000 respectively.  The highest rate in Midlothian East was 1,613 per 100,000 which was in SIMD4, the least deprived group.



Early deaths (premature mortality)

If someone dies aged 75 or less, this is considered to be an early or premature death and potentially preventable.  Early mortality rates are the number of deaths of people under 75 observed over a specified time. These are a subset of the overall death rate. These are best compared as rates per 100,000 population, standardised to take account of differences in the structure of the populations being compared.


Early (<75) All Cause Mortality, Midlothian, NHS Lothian and Scotland 2022
Data source: National Records of Scotland

Early (under 75) all-cause mortality rates in Scotland and Lothian were in steady decline from 2009-11 to 2017-19, when they began to rise again and have continued to do so until 2020-22.  In contrast, rates in Midlothian remained fairly constant.  Midlothian had an average of 410.5 early mortalities per 100,000 in the 2020-22 period which was similar to Lothian but lower than Scotland which had an average of 455.1 per 100,000 in the same period.

From 2009 to 2011 there were 893 early deaths in Midlothian and from, 2020 to 2022 there were 1,081. Since there are smaller numbers of deaths in this age group it is reasonable to expect some variation in mortality rates between years.


Avoidable Mortality

Avoidable Mortality is deaths which are considered either preventable or treatable through public health interventions or timely and effective healthcare. It is based on an international definition by the OECD/Eurostat and looks only at deaths under the age of 75 (National Records Scotland, 2023). Midlothian has the second highest avoidable mortality rate in the Lothians, with West Lothian being the highest and East Lothian being the lowest.


Avoidable Mortality rates by Council, All persons 2019-2021 Average 
Data source: National Records Scotland

Bar chart showing avoidable mortality rates for Scotland. Midlothian has a rate of 292.3 per 100,000 population.





Page updated: May 2024.