Road collisions placing ‘enormous strain’ on NHS – Brake

12.00 | 20 November 2017 | | 3 comments

Road collisions were responsible for one in five trauma centre admissions in 2016, according to new figures obtained by Brake.

Published today to mark the start of Road Safety Week 2017 (20-26 Nov), the data shows that 11,486 road users – the equivalent of 31 a day – were admitted to trauma centres in England and Wales with life-threatening injuries in 2016.

The figure means that road collisions were the second largest cause of trauma admissions, after ‘falls from less than two metres’.

Brake is calling for a range of measures – including a default 20mph limit in all built-up areas, increased enforcement and Intelligent Speed Adaptation – to counter excessive speed which it describes as ‘a major problem’.

The data comes from analysis carried out by the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN), which records information about patients admitted to trauma centres.

The regions with the highest proportion of road collision trauma patients were the Thames Valley (25%), North West London (23%), the West Midlands (23%), the East Midlands (22%) and Eastern England (22%).

Further analysis of data from 75,820 road crash victims admitted to trauma centres during the last decade reveals that young people (16-25 year-olds) are the most affected age group, accounting for more than one in five (21%) road traffic trauma admissions.

5,657 children aged under 16 years made up 7% of all admissions in the same period, with almost a third (32%) of these suffering serious head injury.

Children also comprise the biggest age group for pedestrian casualties, accounting for nearly one in six (17%) trauma admissions.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Not only do needless road collisions cause untold suffering but they also place an enormous strain on the NHS and other public services.

“Speeding is a factor in many deadly crashes and remains a major problem. Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, such as a child stepping out from between parked cars, it’s a driver’s speed that determines whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t, how hard they will hit.

“That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to ‘Speed Down Save Lives’ for Road Safety Week this year.

"Brake is also calling for a default 20mph limit in all built-up areas, increased enforcement and ‘Intelligent Speed Adaptation’, which helps drivers stay within the limit, to be fitted as standard to new vehicles.”

Category: General news.


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    I believe that mention of this has been made on another thread. One about the 20 mph schemes. Unfortunatley it may appear that as fewer pedestrians or other road users are killed more are ariving in hospitals with serious injuries and that creates a greater burden, financial or otherwise for the NHS. Further, the injuries could be so severe that the NHS could be engaged with that injured party for many years following the initial accident.

    One can draw one’s own conclusions as to whether that is right or not but it may be a modern fact of life. With recent innovations, use of helicopters, paramadics, specialist trauma units etc. those injured in RTAs are receiving life saving treatment initially at the scene, and therefore many more injured but alive arrive at the emergency rooms.

    When it comes down to the siting of many injuries, by far the greatest number are within 5 miles of home (stats show about 90% of all occur within 5 miles of home address) and therefore in an urban environment but the vast majority occur on busy arterial roads rather than the adjoining residential streets.

    More than likely at a junction. Driving out of a 20 mph street or area and onto a 30 mph area and that would support the evidence and fact that 30 mph roads are far more likely to have accidents as opposed to the questionably slower 20 mph area.

    m.worthington Manchester
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    Sticking with just the main headline about the level of strain on the NHS from road collisions. I wonder if Brake can tell us what the percentage was say 5 or 10 years ago. Which way is the trend going and why?

    Does less fatalities actually also mean more seriously injured people are now not dying but surviving because of improved ‘golden hour’ treatment.

    It is much more complex than Brake would have us think from their headline.

    Pat, Wales
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    I don’t wish to particularly comment on the potential remedies recommended by Brake but I think it’s an excellent idea to emphasise the effect on the NHS – the NHS is a political soft spot and perhaps this is a way of emphasising that we are under-funding prevention and having to pick up the pieces in other public budgets. False economy!

    peter, liverpool
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