Take Care For Other People Over Winter
4th December 2013
The NHS is gearing up for a tough winter, and accident and emergency departments are set to be very busy as the cold weather takes hold. Hospitals will see a huge number of additional patients over winter, and the unpleasant experience of visiting one will therefore become even worse.
Preventable injuries are very common in the winter, with icy roads and dangerously cold temperatures combining to create a particularly hazardous environment. There are a huge range of dangers that become more significant over winter, including frozen water and lakes, slips and trips, ice falls, carbon monoxide and low temperatures. Injuries over winter can quickly become life-threatening – people who fall in the snow and cannot get up can suffer extensive injuries or can lose their lives if they are not discovered.
According to the Department for Transport, 38 people died, 544 people were seriously injured and 4,584 were slightly injured in reported road accidents involving icy conditions in Great Britain over 2012. Slips, trips and falls over ice and snow saw 7,301 people admitted to hospital during 2012, the Health and Social Care Information Centre found, while statistics from the Office for National Statistics and the General Register Office for Scotland show that 10 people lost their lives in England and Wales and two people died in Scotland after falling on ice and snow. Whether 2013’s figures will be better or worse will largely depend on what the weather brings.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ Chief Executive Tom Mullarkey highlighted three particular issues that British people encounter during winter.
The first is that people are reluctant to clear snow and ice from around their households. He argued people should go outside “with a shovel” and do their “duty as citizens” by clearing any footpaths around their house.
Secondly, he said that older people should wear pavement crampons or appropriate footwear when out on icy streets and should take a walking pole with them, arguing this would reduce the number of A&E visits older people have to make over winter.
Finally, he highlighted the tragic deaths of people who try to save dogs that have fallen through ice, which seem to occur every year. Mr Mullarkey said that people ought to remember that a dog is more likely to escape from ice than a person, and that people should keep their dog on a lead to prevent these incidents from occurring.
At Clearwater Solicitors, we hope that everyone has a fun time over winter and enjoys any snowfall and wintry weather the country experiences. A little forward planning can prevent tragedies from happening and will help you ensure that you are fit and healthy when the spring comes.