Written Answers. - National Injury Strategy.

John Gormley

Question:

303 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding progress towards a national injury strategy as promised in the National Health Strategy, 2002-2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10769/03]

The national health strategy, Quality and Fairness, noted that unintentional injuries were a major cause of death, hospital admission and long-term disability. Injury prevention is a complex task requiring action across many sectors. Action 10 of the strategy provided for the development of a co-ordinated plan with a national focus to tackle this issue with my Department taking a lead role. Initial work has begun and my Department is in discussions with the health boards executive with a view to progressing this action.

A new European public health programme commenced in 2003 with the overall aim of contributing towards the attainment of a high level of physical and mental well-being and greater equality in health matters throughout the European Union. The programme identifies injury as a key area. The improvement and extension of injury information systems is a central objective of the programme. At present EU countries col lect standardised information on home and leisure injuries based on attendance at accident and emergency Departments. It is proposed to extend this system to cover all types of injuries and my Department is examining how this might be progressed from an Irish perspective. At a national level this information is essential in order to benchmark ourselves against our EU partners and to provide for target setting in the context of a national injury prevention strategy.