Snap: adjective; done or taken on the spur of the moment, unexpectedly, or without notice. “A snap General Election”.
We know all about this definition of the word. It’s been repeated mantra-like by politicians and journalists on our TVs and radios ever since the Prime Minister’s announcement.
And while the clamour for votes and news stories increases, particularly now Parliament has been dissolved, we at RoSPA will be attempting to draw attention to an entirely different meaning.
Snap: verb; break suddenly and completely, typically with a sharp cracking sound. “The NHS showed signs of snapping.”
While Brexit will undoubtedly be the main campaign battleground, the NHS is sure to be a major point of contention. After all, when the dust has settled on June 9, the reins Government will still be responsible for running the world’s fourth-largest organisation.
Right now, the health service is creaking and groaning, but there are no snapping sounds. Yet.
At RoSPA we don’t have all the answers, but we do have one solution that might help to ease the problem – prevention.
The vast majority of politicians recognise that prevention works. During the past 12 months there have been discussions over a sugar tax to prevent obesity and diabetes, talk of minimum unit pricing for alcohol to prevent alcohol-related disease and injury, and increases in penalties for those using their mobile phones behind the wheel to prevent accidents.
However, prevention of accidents doesn’t go far enough, and certainly should not be confined to the road.
Falls among the elderly are now the most common cause of serious injury seen in hospitals, with a third of life-threatening trauma cases in England and Wales being among the over-60s who have fallen. Meanwhile, an estimated 550,000 under-fives attend A&E for an unintentional injury every year, with at least one being killed EVERY WEEK. Moreover, at present, around 400 people die every year in accidental drowning, while the number of those who are injured in drownings is currently unknown.
And despite the huge strides made in workplace and road safety, the numbers of deaths from home and leisure accidents are on the rise.
The cost to the NHS of these accidents is phenomenal – not to mention the physical and emotional cost these cause to the people themselves and their families.
And yet, accidents do not have to happen. In fact, accident prevention is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to stop people going to hospital, and from being killed altogether. But despite this, it is not prioritised anywhere near as highly as it should be by public health authorities.
Ahead of this election, we want to see all parties pledging to give proper credence to accident prevention as a public health priority. It won’t solve all of the NHS’ ills, but it might go some way to easing them.
Errol Taylor, acting chief executive
Posted: 5/8/2017 10:45:08 AM