The rates of people killed and admitted to hospital due to injury differs dramatically from one local authority to another. These are the findings from the Injury Profiles, a new online data tool launched today by the South West Public Health Observatory (SWPHO) on behalf of Public Health Observatories in England.
Based on data for 2008–10, almost 11,000 people die each year in England from accidental injuries, including over 2,000 from land transport accidents and nearly 3,300 from falls. This equates to approximately 5,400 years of life lost, assuming a lifespan of 75 years. The profiles show that the local authority with the highest rate of accidental deaths was Melton in Leicestershire, with a rate of 29 deaths per 100,000 people compared with Runnymede in Surrey, which had the lowest rate at 5.5 deaths per 100,000 people. Melton also had the highest rate of years of life lost at 95.6 per 10,000 compared with 10 per 10,000 in Surrey Heath in Surrey.
In 2010/11 in England there were over 650,500 hospital emergency admissions due to accidental injury, including almost 50,000 due to land transport accidents and over 281,000 due to falls in the over 65s. The profiles show that at local authority level, there were big variations. Land transport accidents admission rates varied from 189.8 admissions per 100,000 people in Boston, Lincolnshire to 48.8 admissions per 100,000 people in Kingston upon Thames, London. Falls admission rates in the over 65s varied from 4,844.4 per 100,000 in Waltham Forest, London, to 1,259.4 in Eden, Cumbria.
SWPHO Director, Dr Julia Verne said:
“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.”
Errol Taylor from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said:
“RoSPA has been highlighting problems in the availability of accident data, particularly related to home and leisure injuries, for nearly a decade and we welcome Injury Profiles as a huge step forward in data transparency. Injury Profiles will not only enable accident prevention resources to be targeted effectively, by highlighting where problems lie, but they will also be extremely useful in evaluating investment in prevention and providing the evidence base for accident prevention as a cost-effective public health initiative.
“Throughout RoSPA‟s 95-year history, it has been clear that working in partnership is crucial. The challenge now is for different partners to come together, both nationally and locally in government, the health service and the third sector, to use this new data to further progress on accident prevention and reduce the number of deaths and hospital admissions.”
Other findings from the profiles show that, in 2010/11:
There were 137,264 admissions in children aged under 18 due to accidental injury, with the highest rate of admissions in Liverpool (235.1 per 10,000) and the lowest rate in Three Rivers, Hertfordshire (69.7 per 10,000). Poisoning accounted for more than 123,200 admissions, the rate varying from 539 per 100,000 in Middlesbrough to 67.8 per 100,000 in Wokingham.
Falls from a height or from one level to another accounted for over 51,500 admissions, the rate varying from 165.9 in Halton in the North West to 42.9 per 100,000 in East Hertfordshire. Alcohol use is estimated to have accounted for more than 167,000 admissions due to injury, the rate varying from 617.9 per 100,000 in Lincoln to 95.9 per 100,000 in Wokingham.