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Statistics NZ To Keep An Eye On Injuries

19 June 2002

No one knows just how many people are injured or killed in New Zealand each year. There is information, but it is fragmented across several different agencies.

However, that will change. Statistics New Zealand now has the job of reporting comprehensive information on people who are killed or severely injured, Statistics Minister Laila Harré and Associate ACC Minister Ruth Dyson announced today.

At present there is no complete information on how many New Zealanders are injured or killed every year and what it costs the country, said Ministers said.

“At least eight different agencies hold different bits of injury information, but there is no consistent picture of the injury toll to enable the government to accurately target injury prevention and management programmes.

“The appointment of Statistics New Zealand as Injury Information Manager will change that.”

The Information Manager will integrate scattered information and create a central ‘datastore’ of injury impacts and trends that can be made available to all groups involved in injury-prevention – from Plunket and Safekids to employer and union groups and health and transport sectors, Ms Harré and Ms Dyson said.

“Eventually this will enable much better targeting of injury prevention programmes. At present we can’t be sure which programmes are working. When it is clear who is getting hurt, how and where, the impacts of those injuries and what the injury trends are, then government agencies and other concerned groups can put the effort and money in where it will do most good.”

The functions of the injury information manager are described in part eight of the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act that came into effect this year.

Ministers Harré and Dyson also announced that an Injury Data Review report will be released next month. The report is the result of two years’ work across agencies, and identified concerns with the current state of injury information and ways to fix them.

Problems included the lack of consistent information; fragmentation of reporting; and the fact that researchers were spending scarce resources trying to accumulate useful data.

The Injury Data Review report identifies the range of agencies holding information and where the gaps are. It supplies frameworks for consistent injury information collection and management; and analyses some of the impacts of the injury toll – estimated to be as much as $7 billion a year. It identifies a minimum and standard data set and set of statistics to allow for researchers to access data and produce injury statistics. The agencies involved in the report included the Department of Labour, Statistics New Zealand, ACC, Ministry of Health, LTSA and Department for Courts.

The review will be distributed to interested groups and published on the Statistics New Zealand and Department of Labour websites in July.

Ends

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