7.4. Data discussion
survey of the previous chapter clearly shows the public health relevance and
impact of accidents and injuries. The huge burden of accidents and injuries to
societies and individuals can be qualified as follows :
number one killer among young people: Accidents and injuries are the
leading cause of death in children, adolescents and young adults. The burden of
premature deaths is particularly high in such seemingly diverse areas as
traffic accidents, drowning and suicides.
major cause of disability: Many survivors of severe injuries suffer lifelong
impairment. Although not accurately quantified, accidents and injuries are
assumed to be the main cause of chronic disability among young people, leading
to an enormous loss of life years in good health.
major cause of morbidity and healthcare costs: On average, in all age groups,
injuries account for about 8% of all hospital admissions. In addition to the
huge financial burden on health and welfare systems, injuries often affect the
whole family, emotionally, organisationally and financially.
to Community productivity: There is little data available on the causes of sick
leave and disability due to injuries. Both are important factors in
reduced productivity. National data indicate that up to 8% of retirement on the
grounds of disability and 20% of sick leave days are the
result of injuries.
in its impact on social groups: The risk of dying from an injury is five times
greater in the Member State with the highest injury rate than in that with the
lowest rate. There are also inequalities in exposure to injury risks according
to sex, age and social status.
The European Community Health Indicator system (ECHI) is a
proposal for health indicators which can be calculated in a reliable and
comparable manner in most Member States and which are considered as helpful for
policy making. The so called “short list” defines about 40 readily available
and reasonably comparable indicators (mostly based on assessment by EuroStat).
The additional ECHI “long list”, should be seen as a structured inventory of
important indicators , which are not yet widely available e.g. due to a lack of
reliable data or due to lack of common definition. Subsets of this list could
be selected for further development under various arrangements. These two lists also
contain several injury indicators defining the European standard of injury
surveillance systems in the different countries of the European Union Union are
designed to collect data in order to calculate the standard injury indicators.
Only some of the data presented in the previous section meet the European
standards (e.g. road traffic injuries and, work place injuries). In other
areas, further development and research is needed (e.g. calculation of costs,
calculation of Potential Years of Life Lost (PYLL), Quality Adjusted Life Years
(QALYs), and Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) .
In order to address the high impact of injuries on health
and to develop the role of the health sector in making Europe a safer place to
live in, the Council
Recommendation of 2007 calls upon Member States to ensure an effective
resource allocation for injury prevention by setting priorities. The following
criteria have been used to identify priority areas:
impact of injuries in terms of number, severity and consequences of the various
categories of injury, such as loss of productive years, disability and human
regarding the effectiveness of interventions and the cost-effectiveness of
alternative interventions in relation to the various priority options;
of successful implementation of interventions in the European context and given
the great diversity of infrastructures within Member States (gaps in prevention
and political demand for action);
frame and measurability of intermediate outcomes of actions and impacts in
terms of injury reduction.
This has led to the identification of the following seven
priority areas for injury prevention, analysed more in detail later on in this
citizens and disabled;
caused by products and services;