RoSPA: PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE IS TO TAKE ACCIDENT PREVENTION FROM PAPER TO PRACTICE

23/01/2012

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents welcomes the inclusion of four explicit accident prevention indicators in the new Public Health Outcomes Framework, but says the challenge now is to ensure local authorities and healthcare commissioning groups give them the attention they warrant.

The Public Health Outcomes Framework, published by the Department of Health today, sets out the desired outcomes for public health across England and how these will be measured.

Four indicators are directly related to accident prevention:

  • Killed or seriously injured casualties on England’s roads
  • Hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries in under 18s
  • Falls and injuries in the over 65s
  • Hip fractures.

A range of additional indicators are indirectly related to accident prevention, including mortality from causes considered preventable, excess winter deaths, utilisation of green space for exercise/health reasons and older people’s perception of community safety.

RoSPA is waiting to see how the accident prevention indicators will be linked to the health premium, a crucial incentive for action according to the charity.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s deputy chief executive, said: “We welcome the publication of the Public Health Outcomes Framework and are delighted that four of the indicators are directly related to accidents. The crucial issue now is that sufficient resources are devoted to accident prevention, particularly to arrest the worrying trend of rising home and leisure accidents that we have seen in recent years. Notable successes in road safety have been achieved over the past three decades, thanks to the strategic oversight and sustained investment that this subject has received, and we hope this approach will now be replicated for home and leisure safety.

“It is crucial that all the accident prevention indicators are considered when Joint Strategic Needs Assessments are conducted and we look forward to working closely with directors of public health and health and wellbeing boards to help them develop cost-effective injury prevention strategies that are relevant to the needs of their local populations.”

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA’s chief executive, said: “The choice facing the NHS is so often defined as: find more resources or cut services. At a time of ever-growing demand, a more attractive alternative is to equip people with the skills they need to avoid accidents and the consequential visits to hospital.

“Home and leisure accidents cost much of the £15-20billion the NHS needs to save and a focus on preventing these accidents would enable the NHS to continue to deliver its vital services within its financial constraints. That is why accident prevention is important at every level, from individual to local, as well as regional and national.”  

RoSPA, a safety charity which has been at the heart of accident prevention in the UK and around the world for 95 years, is delighted that the role of the voluntary sector in improving public health performance has been recognised as “significant”.

RoSPA has contributed to the debate surrounding the reorganisation of public health on many occasions, including through consultation and inquiry responses. See www.rospa.com/publichealth/ for more information.

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