Action needed to cut death toll from accidents, says RoSPA

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is urging health professionals in Scotland to help tackle the swathe of fatal accidents plaguing the country, as new figures show accidents are the leading cause of death up to the age of 44.

The statistics from Scotland’s Big Book of Accident Prevention (being made available by RoSPA from tomorrow) show that accidents are the leading cause of preventable years of life lost (PrYLL) for most of the population’s lives.

The family safety charity estimates that accidents in Scotland cost society £12.4billion every year, with home and leisure-time accidents accounting for £7.8billion of this - meaning it would benefit everyone in Scotland to tackle accidents, not just those people whose lives have been devastated by tragedy.

Scotland’s Big Book of Accident Prevention sets out how investing in prevention can help to save lives, reduce injuries and lessen the burden on families, local communities, accident and emergency departments, the wider health and social care services and the economy as a whole.

Dr Karen McDonnell, head of RoSPA Scotland, said: “While the NHS struggles, both in terms of budget and beds, here is an inexpensive and highly effective way to reduce the burden on A&E departments, and to put a stop to the devastation that accidents can cause by robbing people of their lives, and families of their loved ones, prematurely.

“In the Big Book of Accident Prevention we showcase some of the excellent accident prevention work that is being done in Scotland and argue that more should be done. There has never been a better time to increase the investment in accident prevention and it should be made a higher priority.”

The Big Book, which is being welcomed at an event in Holyrood tomorrow, is supported by the Scottish Government, and carries the endorsement of Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood, as well as many organisations.

Tomorrow’s event will hear from experts who have worked with RoSPA on preventative campaigns and initiatives, as well as RoSPA chief executive Tom Mullarkey MBE and deputy chief executive Errol Taylor, and will be hosted by Clare Adamson MSP, who provides the foreword for the Book.

In it, she explains how accident prevention is a “vitally important issue”, and that the Big Book should be used as a “touchstone document” to help save lives and reduce injuries. It is also explained how accident prevention can directly help to deliver seven of Scotland’s 16 National Outcomes, designed by the Scottish Government to “make Scotland a better place to live, and a more prosperous and successful country”.

Scotland’s Big Book of Accident Prevention outlines how accidents account for 27 per cent of preventable years of life lost - more than in England, Northern Ireland and Wales - and that even though fatalities from road traffic incidents have been falling, this is offset by the rise in fatal home and leisure accidents.

The document is available as a free download from RoSPA’s website. It follows the publication of The Big Book of Accident Prevention, which was sent to every member of every health and wellbeing board in England, and Northern Ireland’s Big Book of Accident Prevention.

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