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Investment in Prevention Needed

Emergency admissions data shows continuing increase each year

Safety charity RoSPA is calling for a step-change increase in investment in prevention, after new statistics revealed that emergency admissions are continuing to increase each year.

The latest National Audit Office Reducing emergency admissions report states that overall emergency admissions increased by 9.3 per cent from 2013/14 to 2016/17. In 2016/17, there were 5.8million emergency admissions, up by 2.1 per cent on the previous year.

Tellingly, almost a quarter of these (24 per cent) were admissions that NHS England considers could be avoidable. More than half of the growth in emergency admissions was mostly made up of older people.

Errol Taylor, chief executive of RoSPA, said: “We are dismayed by these latest figures, but not at all surprised. In keeping with the ageing demography of the UK, falls-related fractures are one of the biggest – yet preventable – problems facing the NHS today, with 255,000 admissions among the over-65s each year in England alone.

“Effective, planned, evidence-based approaches to falls and fracture risk reduction, with routine identification of those most vulnerable to falling, will allow for targeted interventions.

“Although there is a range of excellent falls-prevention work currently happening right across the country, audit data has repeatedly shown variation in its coverage and provision. If we are to reduce demand on our stretched health and social care services, this needs to change – we must have effective commissioning for falls prevention.”

RoSPA supports Public Health England’s National Falls Consensus Statement, which, amongst other recommendations, highlights the need for early identification of those most at risk of falls, and commissioned services that provide risk assessments and timely, evidence-based tailored interventions for those at high risk.

The Stand Up, Stay Up programme, being delivered by RoSPA and funded by the Department of Health, aims to bring together all those working across England to prevent falls among older people to spread good practice.

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Accidents are the biggest threat to you and your family for most your life. In fact, more than 14,000 people die as a result of accidents across the UK each year, while thousands more are maimed and millions are injured. Businesses are ruined. Families are devastated. Children grow up without parents, parents without children. Yet despite the scale and severity of the problem, accidents are still too often discussed with a shrug of the shoulders. There is a pervasive belief amongst some people that accidents are somehow inevitable. That they can't be stopped. Imagine if we took the same attitude towards child abuse. Or cancer. For almost 100 years, RoSPA has been quietly working behind the scenes to change both legislation and attitudes surrounding accidents. From the compulsory wearing of seatbelts and the campaign to stop drink driving, to the Cycling Proficiency Test and to the more recent ban on handheld mobile phones behind the wheel, RoSPA has been instrumental in shaping our society for the better, preventing millions of deaths and serious injuries along the way. As a registered charity, we are committed to continuing this legacy of change.