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Joint report quantifies impact of injuries on Kiwis’ lives

8 August 2013

Joint report quantifies impact of injuries on Kiwis’ lives

ACC and the Ministry of Health have today released a joint report which provides new insights into the impact of injuries, and how this compares with the health burden resulting from other health issues.

The ‘Injury-related Health Loss’ report is part of the wider ‘New Zealand Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2006 – 2016’ conducted by the Ministry of Health.

The report presents findings obtained by using an internationally accepted tool to quantify – based on actual data and estimations – the ‘health loss’ caused by injury, with ‘health loss’ defined as the years of healthy life lost because of injury.

This approach provides a common benchmark for comparing the impact of both disease and injury on people’s lives, as well as the impact of different types of injury (e.g. hip fracture) and injuries resulting from different causes (e.g. falls).

ACC’s General Manager of Insurance and Prevention Services, John Beaglehole, says “We already have a good understanding of injury and its causes, because of the comprehensive information collected by ACC and other agencies. But this report is a significant step forward, because it adds a new dimension to our understanding of the impact that injuries have on the lives of New Zealanders.”

Mr Beaglehole says the report’s findings will help Government agencies with their decision-making, and will also inform ACC’s future injury prevention programmes and initiatives.

The report reveals that injury is the fifth highest cause of health loss, with the top three being cancer and vascular and mental disorders. In a single year highlighted in the report (2006), injury robbed New Zealanders of more than 76,000 years of ‘healthy life’.

Other key findings in the report include that:
• males account for nearly three-quarters of injury-related health loss
• the leading causes of injury-related health loss are self-inflicted and transport-related injuries
• Maori experience twice the rate of injury-related health loss of non-Maori, with particularly higher loss from transport-related, self-inflicted and interpersonal-violence-related injuries
• alcohol is likely to be involved in a quarter of all injury-related health loss
• for children, injuries are the third highest cause of health loss
• one third of injury-related health loss results from traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, most of which is due to transport-related injuries.

“The tool used to obtain these findings is a way to quantify the impact of injury, so it doesn’t directly reflect actual injury rates or claims numbers. But the report certainly raises challenging questions for both ACC and New Zealand to address,” says Mr Beaglehole.

“ACC is committed to playing our part, by working collaboratively with other Government agencies and the community towards effective solutions.”

To download the report, go to http://www.acc.co.nz/news/WPC119011

Note: Injury-related health loss in the report is measured in terms of the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) which is based on years lived with disability (YLD) and years lost due to premature death (YLL). One DALY represents the loss of one year of healthy life.

ENDS

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