Injuries cost Bay economy

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More than 220,000 days of productivity were lost in Tauranga due to injures in the last reported financial year, new ACC figures show.

ACC injury comparison reports provide communities across the country with a comprehensive picture of local injury rates and trends, and are designed to help prioritise and plan local injury prevention initiatives.

The most common injuries in Tauranga occurred at home, and at $18.3 million, they were also the most expensive, the 2011/12 financial year data shows.

At 22.9 per cent, loss of balance was the most common cause of accidents in the region, while recreation and sporting activities were the most common pre-accident activity.

Tauranga's ACC injury claim rate was far higher than the national average, but it had been trending downwards over the past five years.

Tauranga Hospital emergency department director Dr Derek Sage said "falls of various descriptions" were the most common injury suffered by the region's elderly.

The injuries were "far more common with the older population" and hips, wrists, the pelvis, ribs and shoulders bore the brunt of the injuries, Dr Sage said.

"If I turned up and I didn't have a fall attending this emergency department on a given day, that would be miraculous."

Kids going about their various daily activities made up the second most common emergency department presentations, he said.

Sporting injuries were also common at the beginning of the sporting season - when people started training and were a bit rusty.

ACC insurance and prevention services general manager John Beaglehole said Western Bay ACC injury prevention programmes included working with Tauranga Safe City, delivering alcohol-related programmes targeting licensed premises and bar staff to address risky behaviour.

Nationwide, 8,843,795 days of productivity were lost due to injuries in the 2011/12 financial year.

Mr Beaglehole said the reports provided a wealth of information, from overall ACC claims rates to data for priority areas such as work, falls, assaults, motor vehicles and water sports.

"We're really keen to share our data and make the best possible use of it. ACC has a big role to play in helping to prevent injuries, but so do lots of other parties, including government agencies, local councils and non-government organisations."

The profiles were designed to be used by community organisations, in conjunction with ACC community injury prevention consultants, to help build local injury prevention plans.

"Each community has its own unique social and geographical factors and issues to address - the reports are a tool to help them take positive action."

The ACC data was complemented by statistics sourced from the police, New Zealand Transport Agency and Statistics New Zealand - enabling a detailed picture of where and how injuries were happening.

"For example, ACC doesn't collect information as specific as what street a vehicle-related injury happens on. But by matching our claims data with NZTA data, we can show the cost of injuries on particular streets," Mr Beaglehole said.

By the numbers

  • 52.6 per cent of Tauranga injuries occurred at home, costing $18.3 million

  • 22 per cent occurred during sport & recreation, costing $9 million

  • 7.9 per cent occurred at a commercial/service location, costing $5.3 million

  • 7 per cent occurred on a road or street, costing $11.8 million

  • 5.2 per cent occurred at school, costs unavailable

- Source: ACC

- Bay of Plenty Times

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