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Understanding Why We End Up in A&E

And how can you prevent it

RoSPA welcomes the long-awaited arrival of the NHS’s new Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS), which will dramatically improve our understanding of why patients are having to attend hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments.

In the past, the causes of just five per cent of A&E attendances were recorded in A&E departments, meaning there has been little understanding of the reasons behind the vast majority of visits.

This situation is about to change – the ECDS has been designed to fill the gaps in our knowledge by delivering a huge improvement in the quality and quantity of detail about A&E attendances.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA chief executive, said: “A&E attendances have reached record levels and it is more important than ever to understand the causes, to develop programmes – such as accident prevention – to improve the way we look after ourselves and our families.

“RoSPA particularly welcomes the ‘injury information’ fields within ECDS (data/time of injury, place type, activity and mechanism) because these will help us to identify those most vulnerable to accidents, the main injury locations, and the activities being undertaken when injuries happen, to develop precisely-targeted accident prevention programmes.”

The system has been developed over 24 months, with clinical leadership provided by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s informatics department, to ensure that the information collected is right to enable a greater understanding of A&E activity. Data collection and submission began in October.

For more information, watch, visit the ECDS page on NHS Digital, or visit the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s website.

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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.