2018-2019 Federal Budget – Injury

The 2018-19 Federal Budget was released on 8 May 2018, which revealed a $12.4 billion increase in the Health Budget, to $99.1 billion for health, aged care and sport.

Key injury prevention funding allocations outlined in the Budget include an:

  • Increase in mental health funding by $338.1 million to focus on suicide prevention, research, older Australians and advancing the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
  • $1.0 million of funding to reduce the number of preventable childhood injuries through the SeeMore Safety Program.
  • $0.9 million allocation to develop a new National Injury Prevention Strategy aimed at reducing childhood injuries by investing in infant and maternal health.
  • Support for Surf Life Saving Australia, Royal Life Saving Australia, AUSTSWIM and Laurie Lawrence Swimming Enterprises to deliver the Water and Snow Safety Program.

Other injury prevention related activities include investments regarding; aged care, improving access to health care facilities, Indigenous health services, alcohol and drug abuse and activities encouraging physical activity.

For the full 2018/19 Federal Budget click here.

National Road Safety Week 2018 comes to a close

Perth was chosen to be this year’s host city for the 2018 National Road Safety Week, which began five years ago and is an initiative of Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) founder and president Peter Frazer.

Peter lost his daughter Sarah in an horrific road crash in 2012 just as she was on her way to begin her university studies at a neighbouring university and to start a new chapter in her life at the age of 23.

Sarah had experienced car trouble on the way to her first day of university and had been forced to pull over to the emergency lane and to call and wait for a tow truck to provide assistance. Sadly both Sarah and the tow truck driver were killed instantly when a truck, which failed to see and avoid them, ploughed into them both killing them instantly.

Peter later discovered that the emergency lane on that stretch of road did not meet national safety guidelines and has become a tireless campaigner for road safety, marking the start of a journey neither he nor his wife had ever wanted to take.

The campaign launch was held at Perth’s newly opened Yagan Square on Sunday April 29 and was officially marked by WA Road Safety Minister Hon. Michelle Roberts and acting Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron, leading road safety figures from across WA, community members and the Road Trauma Support WA team.

The week highlighted the safety needs of different road users and groups throughout the week, focusing on first responders, roadside assistance workers, vulnerable road users, those on regional roads as well as cyclists and motorcyclists.

It also incorporated a research forum which brought together those involved in enforcement, legislation, protection, research and support, looking at the latest trends and evidence around road safety and mapping out ways to work together moving forward.

Although the profile and impact of National Road Safety Week continues to grow each year and to resonate with communities across Australia, the reality is that despite education, advocacy, legislation and enforcement, the number of those killed and injured on our roads continues to grow. And with that the number of families and community members who are left devastated in its wake.

Governments across the world continue to call for tougher penalties for those who break the law on our roads, and although the vast majority abide by those laws, there are still those who don’t – putting themselves and others at risk.

Road Safety experts also referred to those who aren’t drinking and driving, who aren’t speeding and who are routinely wearing their seatbelts, but who make momentary mistakes that will impact them and those around them for the rest of their lives.

The Road Trauma Support WA team would like to thank Peter Frazer and the SARAH group for all of their hard work, the WA Road Safety Commission team who coordinated the event nationally from Perth, WA Road Safety Minister Hon. Michelle Roberts and all those across Australia who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the events of the past week happen.

As we reflect on the events of the past week, which have successfully put road safety in the national spotlight, lets pause to remember all of those who are struggling in the wake of road trauma.

If you, a friend, family member or colleague has been impacted by road trauma would like further information or support it is available at www.rtswa.org.au

Injury Matters Submission to National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026

On 27 November 2017 it was agreed that the draft National Alcohol Strategy would undergo public consultation to inform the strategic direction and strategies of the Strategy.

Alcohol has a significant impact on the health and safety of Western Australians and alcohol-related harm is an issue across all injury areas. Alcohol is linked to a range of intentional and unintentional injuries, including falls, violence, suicide and self-harm, drownings and transport injuries.

As such Injury Matters made a submission to the consultation highlighting areas for action to reduced alcohol related harm in Western Australia.

Injury Matters’ submission can be read here.

Hospitalisations due to farm injuries in Australia

A recent release by AIHW, Hospitalised farm injury, Australia: 2010-11 to 2014-15, highlights that there were 22,000 hospitalisations in Australia between 2010-11 and 2014-15 due to injuries which occurred on a farm.

Click here to view Know Injury’s blog about the report or access the full AIHW report today.

Injury Matters Sustainable Health Review Submission

In June 2017, the Government of Western Australia announced the Sustainable Health Review to prioritise the delivery of patient-centred, high quality and financially sustainable healthcare across the State.

The review involved consultation with a variety of stakeholders including patients and carers, clinicians, community members, non-government organisations, peak bodies and private industry.

Injury Matters submission focused on the significant impact of injury on the health system in Western Australia, affirming the importance of investment in injury prevention and proposing recommendations in the areas of patient first systems, value for money, partnerships, healthy lifestyles and technology and innovation.

To view Injury Matters Sustainable Health Review submission click here.

15th World Congress on Public Health

With the theme of Voices, Vision, Action, the 15th World Congress on Public Health in Melbourne, Australia (3-7 April 2017) saw a week of influential speakers come together from around the world with addresses from government representatives and ministers, panel discussions and research presentations, just to name a few.

The congress charged the attendees with taking the next steps to promote health within their own settings and pull from previous charters, such as the Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion 1, to build upon for future directives. Guided by the underlying foundation set out by the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the plenary presenters highlighted targets to improve health, protect the planet, end poverty and ensure equality for all.

Prominent topics from the Congress included climate change, gender and racial equality, Indigenous health and social corporate responsibility. The theme of injury remained as a secondary cause of poor health and was addressed within individual streams of oral research presentations, such as drowning, road trauma, violence against women and children, falls, and communities and environments.

However, it was disappointing to see that injury prevention was not a prominent area of focus for this Congress. Injury accounts for 10% of the global burden of disease2 and is the fourth most common cause of death and hospitalisation in Western Australia3, therefore more action is needed to pull injury to the forefront. Injury prevention is inherently interconnected with the SDGs and is recognised as one of the nine Health Priority Areas by the Australian Government4 , highlighting that communities and governments should continue to work together to mitigate risks associated with  injury.

On my personal reflections on the Congress, from the sustainable development goals, to passionate speakers on climate change, to improving health within Indigenous populations, one key thought kept coming into my mind: Solidarity. As discussed by Dr Bettina Borisch from the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, solidarity is when ‘people can unite across our differences, not allowing themselves to be divided and conquered’. As health professionals, it is natural to become siloed within our professional focus, but as we all work to create a society where people live healthy and fulfilling lives, solidarity unites us to create a network that collaborates to take action. I found Dr Borisch’s call to solidarity really resonated with me and made me reflect on our current situation and to endeavour to work better in partnerships to promote health.

With the President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations Michael Moore stating ‘now is the time to take action’, take a moment to read, reflect and support The World Federation of Public Health Associations Demand for Action – Melbourne 2017 which can be found here.

Catrina Wold
Evidence and Practice Lead

1 World Health Organization. Ottawa Charter for Public Health [Internet]. World Health Organization; 1986. Available from: http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/previous/ottawa/en/

2 Haagsma JA, Graetz N, Bolliger I, Naghavi M, Higashi H, Mullany EC, et al. The global burden of injury: incidence, mortality, disability-adjusted life years and time trends from the Global Burden of Disease study 2013. Injury Prevention. 2016 Feb;22(1):3–18.

3 Ballestas T, Xiao J, McEvoy S, Somerford P. The Epidemiology of Injury In Western Australia, 2000 – 2008. Perth: Department of Health WA; 2011.

4 Australian Institute of Health and Wellness. National Health Priority Areas [Internet]. AIHW; 2017. Available from: http://aihw.gov.au/national-health-priority-areas/

Report points to the need for injury prevention to become top health priority

The recent release of the Incidence and Costs of Injury in Western Australia 2012 report by the Chronic Disease Directorate Department of Health WA indicates that injuries remain one of the most serious public health problems in WA.

A briefing on the report was held on Tuesday March 28 at Grace Vaughan House in Shenton Park to provide key stakeholders with expert analysis of the impact of injury across WA, including health sector costs, long-term care costs, and the impact of injury on paid productivity and quality of life.

The Director, Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate, Public Health Division, Department of Health, Denise Sullivan lead the expert panel and was joined by Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood, Director of the Burns Service of WA and Burn Injury Research Unit of WA, and Dr Delia Hendrie, Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health at Curtin University.

The report looks at the incidence of injuries across sociodemographic factors, regions, types of injuries and also at the impact of alcohol on injury.

It highlighted disproportionately high rates of injury across Aboriginal and regional populations.

Curtin University’s Dr Delia Hendrie said that there were many proven injury prevention measures currently being implemented across WA.

“Widely implementing them to reduce injuries would be very cost-effective and result in considerable cost savings to the community,” Dr Hendrie said.

The report identified falls as the most common category of unintentional injury across all age groups (costing $2.2 billion), except those in the 15-24 year old group who are most likely to be injured in a transport-related incidence.

Aboriginal people experienced emergency department visits and hospitalisations for injury at more than double the rate compared to non-Aboriginal people.

Alcohol related injuries were estimated to cost $1.9 billion. Alcohol was involved in 17.5% of injury fatalities and 32% of injury-related emergency department visits.

Those living in non-metropolitan areas, particularly the Kimberley, Wheatbelt and Goldfields regions experienced injury rates that were more than double those in the metropolitan areas.

The Injury Control Council of WA Acting Chief Executive, Sandy Lukjanowski, said the report highlighted the need for all levels of government to prioritise injury prevention to reduce the financial burden on the community.

“The high rates of injury for Aboriginal people and also for those in the regional areas reinforces the Injury Control Council of WA’s (ICCWA) renewed focus on injury prevention measures in both those areas and the need for further investment to address the over representation in injury data.”

The report cited evidence that injury is the fourth most common cause of death and the second highest  cause of potential years of life lost.

The Incidence and Cost of Injury in Western Australia 2012 reported approximately 227,000 injury events occurred, which is equivalent to 93 injury events per 1,000 persons in Western Australia. As a result, the associated costs of injury equated to $9.6 billion, with the mean costing of each injury event estimated to be $42,000.