Injury rates in Bristol linked to 'a lack of money'
POVERTY is being blamed for new figures which show Bristol residents are more likely to be hospitalised by accidents than the national average.
Poisoning, alcohol, serious head injuries and self-harm were among the reasons the highest proportion of people attended hospital in the city, according to information gathered by the Bristol-based South West Public Health Observatory.
And it has been suggested by a Bristol injury prevention manager that a lack of money for safety equipment and issues with reading safety information could be a factor.
The injury profiles showing the numbers of patients admitted to hospital across England and the types of injuries they suffered have now been published on the public health observatory website.
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The profiles show that 4,599 were admitted to hospital in Bristol as a result of accidents in the 2010/11 financial year – a higher proportion of the population than the average for the whole of England, with 952.4 admissions per 100,000 people. Other local authorities in the Bristol area fared better than the national rate, with 1,945 admissions (711.1 per 100,000) in North Somerset, 2,431 (757.3) in South Gloucestershire and 1,824 (795.8) in Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES).
The public health observatory, which has an office in Whiteladies Road, has compiled the information to help prevent injuries by highlighting key areas of concern.
Falls accounted for the most injuries in the area with 2,884 (561.6 per 100,000) in Bristol, 1,609 (441.6) in South Gloucestershire, 1,324 (408.4 per) in North Somerset and 1,274 (490.5) in B&NES.
The breakdown by age showed that the over 65s suffered more falls in Bristol than in other parts of the country with 2,116 (2751.4 per 100,000), while in the rest of the area figures were better than the national rate.
There were more falls from height in Bristol (103.7 per 100,000) and B&NES (113.2) than the rate for England, while in South Gloucestershire (66.3) and North Somerset (72.7) figures were better. Poisoning – including children eating berries and overdoses – accounted for 1,485 (316.3 per 100,000) admissions in Bristol, 425 (222.4) in North Somerset, 533 (204.8) in South Gloucestershire and 508 (280) in B&NES.
In combined figures from 2008/09 and 2010/11 serious head injuries accounted for 1,085 (75.1 per 100,000) admissions in Bristol, 512 (61.7) in South Gloucestershire, 427 (63) in North Somerset and 357 (58) in B&NES.
But fewer people in Bristol suffered injuries that required admission to hospital as a result of incidents involving land transport than the national average, according to the figures.
Matron at Frenchay Hospital A&E, Juliette Hughes, said that the most common injuries the team deals with are sports injuries, particularly on weekends, with rugby, football, horse riding and children having accidents on bicycles being the most common.
"We see a higher than average number of people with head injuries because we are the regional neurological centre," she said.
"We also do regional burns and we have noticed an increase in the number of injuries sustained by people using lighter fuel and paraffin to light barbecues and bonfires.
"We are always prepared as we see a big mixture of injuries."
Injury prevention manager for NHS Bristol and co-ordinator of Avonsafe, Rob Benington said: "Injury is linked to deprivation and it tends to be that you get more injuries the poorer you are, for instance if you cannot read warning labels and cannot afford safety equipment.
"We try to get information out so that people working with parents and families can relay it and families can then act in the best interests of their children."
Safety equipment has been made available at cost through children's centres in the area so that parents are more likely to get hold of pouches for hair straighteners and locks for cupboards to minimise injuries to children.
Mr Benington said: "Most injuries can be prevented or the risk of injury can be reduced.
"Accidents happen more to some people than others and that links back to social and economic deprivation."