Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton today called for a national falls strategy that delivers a new “design for life” for those at risk, after it was revealed 85% of unintentional injuries amongst over 65s were due to falls.
Figures from ISD Scotland show that people aged 65 and over falling accounted for more than 21,000 emergency hospital admissions last year, up 29% compared to a decade ago.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“When I chaired the Scottish Older People’s Assembly, I was shocked to learn that their greatest concern wasn’t money or loneliness but a fear of falling and not being able to get up again. These new figures show these fears are well justified with falls resulting in hospitalisations increasing dramatically in recent years.
“In a parliamentary vote, the Scottish Government accepted my calls for a new national falls strategy to address these concerns but so far we have seen no progress.
“We need to ensure that a new design for life is developed, with detailed plans to reduce falls and make our communities more open and welcoming for those at risk.”
In 2016/17 there were 25,144 emergency admissions to hospital for an unintentional injury in those aged 65 and over, with 85% (21,333) of these being the result of a fall, up from 16,523, a decade ago.
Falls were the most common cause of emergency hospital admissions for unintentional injuries in adults, with the rate rising in line with age to as high as 88% amongst those aged 75 and over.
The proposal for a national falls strategy was put forward by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and backed by the Parliament on 2 March 2017 and again on 18 January 2018.