A recent report by the South West Public Health Observatory (SWPHO) shows comparisons of accidents and injuries across England and highlights regional variances, but also highlights the harrowing facts that there are nearly 11,000 fatal accidents each year which could be preventable.

The report based on statistics from 2008 – 2010 shows that nearly 11,000 people have died as a result of accidental injuries, of which there are nearly 3,300 fatal falls and 2,000 land transport fatal accidents. The report also shows large variations in the number of hospital admissions and deaths as a result of an accident across different authorities in England.

The report revealed that Melton in Leicestershire had the highest rate of accident deaths at 29 deaths per 100,000, whereas Runnymede in Surry had the lowest rate at 5.5 deaths per 100,000 people. The figures also highlighted admissions for alcohol-attributable injuries at 167,000 in 2010/11 compared to over 51,500 admissions due to injuries caused by falls from height.

SWPHO Director Dr Julia Verne commented “Years of life lost due to injuries are high. There are close to 11,000 deaths from injury each year. Most of these are preventable, making injuries a serious public health concern. Injuries don’t often make the headlines and are consequently something of a ‘hidden’ public health issue. This needs to change. We know that they disproportionately affect the young, the old and the least well off”.

“The Injury Profiles mean that we can map variation and start asking serious questions about why these differences exist. Possible explanations are social and economic differences between areas, or differences in injury prevention efforts and access to NHS and care services. There may also be differences in the way injury information is recorded.”

“There is a great opportunity as we move into Public Health England to improve injury prevention at a local level and these profiles are timely in helping us do so.”

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Published: 15th October 2013