Tackling the public health challenge of accidental injury

October 2012

The importance of child accident prevention is reflected in the new strategy and outcomes for public health. Find out more about this and other reports that promote the role of public health in child accident prevention here.

Healthy Lives, Healthy PeopleTaking better care of children’s health and development, including preventing injuries, is an integral part of Healthy Lives, Healthy People, the new strategy for public health in England published in November 2010. The white paper was informed by an evidence review published at the same time. This includes a breakdown of child road traffic casualties by local authority area.

For more information about child accident prevention and the new public health strategy, see:

NICE public health guidance on injury prevention

New public health guidance on reducing unintentional injuries among under-15s has been published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). A quick reference guide is available which presents the recommendations from each of the above.

Self-assessment tool

The NICE website offers a self-assessment tool to help you assess your local position in relation to the guidance on injury prevention among under-15s.

A new public health system

The new public health system will provide opportunities for local engagement on child safety through the following structures and processes.

Statutory health and wellbeing boards

The health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) will bring together the key NHS, public health and social care leaders in each local authority area to work in partnership. Core members will be clinical commissioning groups, the director of children’s services and at least one local elected representative. There is also potential to involve other local public service providers and the voluntary sector. Local authorities have been invited to join a network of ‘early implementers’ for health and wellbeing boards.

There is a network of 'early implementer' and shadow HWBs. One useful resource to look at is New partnerships, new opportunities, a Local Government Association publication that provides support to set up and run HWBs.

The King's Fund has produced an online directory and location map of HWBs.

Enhanced Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is the ‘health and wellbeing narrative’ of an area which can be used to establish a shared vision of local service needs. The JSNA “provides an objective analysis of local current and future needs for adults and children, assembling a wide range of quantitative and qualitative data, including user views.” However, the focus of the JSNA will not just be on production but on application as a commissioning tool.

Joint health and wellbeing strategy

A joint health and wellbeing strategy (JHWS) will build on the JSNA, spanning NHS, social care and public health but also potentially the wider health determinants such as housing and education. In July 2012 the Department of Health  launched a consultation on its draft JSNA and JHWS guidance.

Tackling the inequalities of injury

Childhood injury is strongly associated with disadvantage and health inequalities. Children from the poorest families in the UK are 13 times more likely to die in accidents. They are also more likely to be admitted to hospital with accidental injuries. The public health white paper supporting evidence review highlights the fact that “the risk of a child dying on the roads more than doubles for children in the most deprived areas.”

See Health and inequalities for information on the inequalities of injury and incentives for action to prevent childhood accidents.

Milestones in injury prevention

The Accidental Injury Task Force report (2002) to the Chief Medical Officer included evidence reviews and working groups on children and young people, and the issues around ‘measuring and monitoring’. Key conclusions included: "injury prevention needs more direct linkage to larger programmes. It needs better coordination and clearer leadership".

This work was strongly endorsed by the Audit Commission and former Healthcare Commission in 2007 and in the Accident Prevention Priority Review (2009).

Updated June 2013