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New strategies aim to prevent drowning and falls

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for ACC

29 August 2005 Media Statement

New strategies aim to prevent drowning and falls

New Zealand will be safer as a result of two landmark injury prevention strategies, Preventing Injury from Falls and the Drowning Prevention Strategy, ACC Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

Releasing the strategies, Ms Dyson said around 130 people drown in New Zealand every year and about 650 people are hospitalised as a result of water-related injuries. Falls also take a dramatic toll across all age groups. More than 160,000 people were hospitalised for a fall-related injury between 1993 and 2002, and nearly 2,500 fall-related deaths occurred between 1992 and 2001.

“Raw numbers do not illustrate the real cost of these injuries in pain and suffering, and disruption to families and work. These strategies will better co-ordinate and provide services that prevent drownings and falls, making New Zealand safer for everyone,” Ruth Dyson said.

Ms Dyson thanked the many people who contributed during public consultations to the development of both strategies.

Development of the Drowning Prevention Strategy was led by ACC in close collaboration with agencies working in water safety education, rescue, regulation, funding and research.

“New Zealand has a relatively high rate of drowning compared to other OECD nations, with 53 people drowned already this year despite a relatively poor summer. These agencies will play a vital role as the strategy is translated into co-ordinated action that will result in more lives being saved and injuries prevented.”

The falls strategy was developed in consultation with DHBs, general practitioners, orthopaedic specialists, building and housing advisors, local government, older adults, Plunket, disabled groups, medical researchers and public health services.

“A fall can result in major life changes, such as no longer being able to play sport, care for your children or live independently. Yet most falls are preventable, even for older people,” Ruth Dyson said.

Drowning Prevention Strategy: Towards a Water Safe New Zealand 2005-2015 is available at www.drowningstrategy.govt.nz and Preventing Injury from Falls: The National Strategy 2005 – 2015 at www.fallsstrategy.govt.nz


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