Safety charity RoSPA is calling for a step-change increase in investment in prevention, after new statistics revealed that emergency admissions are continuing to increase each year.
The latest National Audit Office Reducing emergency admissions report states that overall emergency admissions increased by 9.3 per cent from 2013/14 to 2016/17. In 2016/17, there were 5.8million emergency admissions, up by 2.1 per cent on the previous year.
Tellingly, almost a quarter of these (24 per cent) were admissions that NHS England considers could be avoidable. More than half of the growth in emergency admissions was mostly made up of older people.
Errol Taylor, chief executive of RoSPA, said: “We are dismayed by these latest figures, but not at all surprised. In keeping with the ageing demography of the UK, falls-related fractures are one of the biggest – yet preventable – problems facing the NHS today, with 255,000 admissions among the over-65s each year in England alone.
“Effective, planned, evidence-based approaches to falls and fracture risk reduction, with routine identification of those most vulnerable to falling, will allow for targeted interventions.
“Although there is a range of excellent falls-prevention work currently happening right across the country, audit data has repeatedly shown variation in its coverage and provision. If we are to reduce demand on our stretched health and social care services, this needs to change – we must have effective commissioning for falls prevention.”
RoSPA supports Public Health England’s National Falls Consensus Statement, which, amongst other recommendations, highlights the need for early identification of those most at risk of falls, and commissioned services that provide risk assessments and timely, evidence-based tailored interventions for those at high risk.
The Stand Up, Stay Up programme, being delivered by RoSPA and funded by the Department of Health, aims to bring together all those working across England to prevent falls among older people to spread good practice.