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Draft strategy focuses on injury prevention

Draft strategy focuses on injury prevention

A draft government strategy released today aims to prevent injuries and develop a safety culture in New Zealand.

Releasing the draft New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy for public consultation, ACC Minister Ruth Dyson said most injuries could be prevented. “It is a disgrace that there are about 1,600 deaths from injuries and 42,000 hospitalisations in New Zealand each year, when most injuries and their consequences are preventable.

“Injuries take a huge toll on individuals, families, whanau and communities. The combined social and economic costs are estimated at up to seven billion dollars a year.

Ruth Dyson said the draft strategy established a framework to achieve a safe New Zealand where people could live free from injury.

“The benefits of injury prevention are obvious. They include continued quality of life for people living free from injury, less disruption and increased productivity for employers, and fewer demands on our public healthcare system.

“The focus of the strategy is on preventive measures to reduce both the number of new injuries and the severity of injuries that do occur. These measures include safety education, enforcement of safety laws and regulations, and creating environments that reduce the likelihood of injuries occurring.”

Ruth Dyson said the strategy would provide a national vision and framework for the injury prevention activities of government agencies, non-government organisations, communities and individuals.

Research shows that injury prevention works best when groups in different sectors - such as health, education, enforcement and employment – work together. The strategy will encourage cooperation and information sharing across agencies.”

“All New Zealanders have a role to play in injury prevention, including parents, caregivers, managers, workers, landlords, sports participants and road users.

“Injury prevention also relies on involving people most at risk from injury, encouraging people to change their behaviour, addressing the many factors that contribute to injury, and ensuring that injury prevention efforts are sustained over time.”

The draft strategy outlines 10 key objectives, including raising awareness and commitment to injury prevention, developing effective interventions, providing greater coordination of activities, and ensuring appropriate resources.

Six broad priority areas have been identified, accounting for at least 80 per cent of all injury deaths and serious injuries in New Zealand. They are motor vehicle traffic crashes, suicide and deliberate attempts at self-harm, falls, workplace injuries and disease, assault, and drowning or near-drowning.

The draft strategy was developed with input from three expert groups, including a Stakeholder Reference Group widely representative of the injury prevention field, to ensure the strategy has practical application in the community.

The government is seeking public feedback on the draft strategy. Workshops will be held around the country during November and December. Written submissions close on 31 January 2003.

Once the strategy is finalised, ACC will develop an implementation plan in cooperation with key government agencies and other organisations. The first plan is expected to cover the period 1 July 2003-30 June 2004.

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