Today, RoSPA has published Safe and active at all ages: a national strategy to prevent serious accidental injuries in England.
This national accident prevention strategy for England is the culmination of several years of hard work, and the dedication of partners from a whole host of organisations including Public Health England and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
It’s no secret that accidents are a major burden on our health and social care services – from 2013–2016, there was an average of 12,435 deaths from accidents each year in England – and it may come as no surprise that in the face of an ageing population, this number is on the rise, particularly in the home and leisure environments.
Yet in the vast majority of cases, with simple and often cheap interventions, these deaths and injuries can be prevented. It’s clear that, with mounting pressures on the NHS and much discussion of a crisis in social care, the nation must take action where it can.
But also consider that for each of those 12,435 people who die every year, and the countless others that receive life-changing injuries as a result of an accident, there are families, friends and colleagues whose lives are irrevocably changed; it’s this thought that drives us forward.
Our strategy’s 25 recommendations set out how accidental death and serious injury can be addressed across the life course, from birth to older age. They bring together disparate organisations and stakeholder groups – from nurseries and schools to employers and government departments– and align work already being carried out by practitioners across the board to present a holistic way forward, ensuring that interventions have solid evidential foundations.
But above all of this, the strategy’s ethos is one of enablement. Unintentional death and serious injury limit life’s opportunities; they dash our dreams, and bring to a shuddering halt our hopes for the future. This is unacceptable – especially as accidents don’t have to happen.
Quite apart from the traditional, outdated and misinformed view that accident prevention is about wrapping ourselves in cotton wool, the strategy aims to promote safe and active lives, for the whole of life, for everyone. It is important that children have opportunities to experience and learn from age-appropriate exposure to risk; we want to empower older people to lead energetic and vigorous lives free from physical constraints.
And in doing so, we know that we can help to play a small part in easing the pressure on the country’s overstretched health services, that we can save businesses from lost revenue and productivity, and, most importantly, that we save lives and prevent the heartache caused by accidents.
Take a look at www.rospa.com/nationalstrategy to find out how you can help us achieve our vision of life, free from serious accidental injury.
Jo Bullock – RoSPA Head of Awareness & Education