A recent article featured in the British Medical Journal made reference to the fact that rates of “avoidable deaths” in Scotland had stalled. But when the data is broken down further, an interesting (and alarming) trend can be found – “external causes”, which account for more than one in five avoidable deaths, are on the increase. And of these external causes, accidental injuries account for roughly 75 per cent of deaths.
Accidents now account for four per cent of all deaths in Scotland, more than assault or suicide, and the numbers are on the rise. In 2018, 2,512 people died, up 164 from 2017, and a huge 762 from 2014. Last year, nearly half of deaths were due to accidental poisoning, and nearly two in five were from falls.
This is a rise that we have to arrest. Accidents place a major burden on the NHS, impact the economy through lost time and productivity, and create unimaginable heartbreak by those affected, and they are all completely and easily preventable.
Thankfully, progress is being made here in Scotland. The Building Safer Communities
Unintentional Injury and Harm Executive Group is a collaboration of organisations, including RoSPA, that are working to reduce unintentional injury and harm. An online hub
was recently launched which provides practice exemplars of projects, as well as resources and information for organisations to use to help prevent injuries.
The Scottish Government is also publishing its Falls and Fracture Prevention Strategy for 2019-2024, which aims to help people sustain and improve their wellbeing and health. It provides a whole-system approach to the prevention of falls and fractures.
A number of projects and research is also under way. For example, to help reduce accidental injuries and fatalities RoSPA Scotland launched its Keeping Kids Safe in the Home Project
in Edinburgh, which is designed to provide parents and carers of children under the age of five with simple advice and information to help them keep their children safe. RoSPA Scotland is also carrying out research into scald injuries in association with Care of Burns in Scotland (COBIS) and East Renfrewshire Council.
For more information email [email protected]
Carlene McAvoy, community safety development manager
Posted: 8/6/2019 1:29:47 PM