Sharing of data must be improved to identify injury prevention priorities, says strategy

11/10/2018

Vital injury causation data must be made available to a range of agencies if England is to tackle a leading preventable cause of death, serious injury and long-term disability, according to a new national strategy.

There was an average 12,435 deaths from accidents each year in England from 2013-16, with a 15 per cent increase in the number of accidental deaths during the period, yet nationally the quantity and quality of prevention interventions is inconsistent.

To support the development and evaluation of targeted interventions, RoSPA publishes Safe and active at all ages: a national strategy to prevent serious accidental injuries in England today (October 11). Among its recommendations, the document calls for local and national practitioners to be granted access to the Emergency Care Data Set, in place in emergency departments across the country since October 2017.

The strategy, which has been developed by a wide range of partners including Public Health England and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, also recommends the establishment of better data sharing among local agencies, to aid the identification of accident prevention priorities.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s chief executive, said: “Accidents kill thousands every year, with many more receiving life-changing injuries as the result of an unintentional injury, particularly in home and leisure environments. They place a huge and incredibly expensive burden on our health and social care services, and an unquantifiable amount of personal heartache on the family and friends of those affected.

“Yet we know from the evidence available that accidents are preventable – quite often cheaply and easily; for decades, targeted interventions have been driving down fatalities and serious injuries on the UK’s roads and in workplaces.

“But practitioners must be supported if they are to develop evidence-based interventions that will protect life and limb. They need access to good quality data that will allow them to identify and monitor injury trends to target resource where it is needed most, and importantly data must be shared among practitioners for the setting of relevant interventions.”

On Tuesday, RoSPA’s vice-president Lord Jordan of Bournville raised the issue of data in the House of Lords.

The strategy seeks to address the rising number of accidental deaths in England and the heavy toll these place on the health and social care services, as well as the personal heartache that serious unintentional injury can cause. It aims to achieve a step-change in the delivery of evidence-based accident prevention programmes across England, promote safe and active lives and reduce the burden of serious accidental injury on society.

The strategy’s 25 recommendations for action address the major dangers faced by people across their life course, from birth to older age, and wherever they may find themselves – in their own homes, at work, in education, on the road, or during leisure pursuits  – and highlight the links between accident prevention and other issues on the public health agenda.

Representatives of the following organisations participated in the National Accident Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, under the chairmanship of the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell: Public Health England; Association of Directors of Public Health; Blackburn with Darwen Council; Faculty of Public Health; Institute of Health Promotion and Education; Institute of Health Visiting; Royal College of Emergency Medicine; Royal College of Nursing; Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; Royal Society for Public Health; University of Nottingham; and University of the West of England. Contributions were also made by RoSPA’s national committees covering home, road, water and education safety and occupational health and safety.

To read the strategy, and to find out how you can support the reduction of serious accidental death and injury in your community, see www.rospa.com/nationalstrategy

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