You can view previous publications up to December 2019 at

About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland reports on emergency hospital admissions and deaths as a result of unintentional injury.

Main points

  • In 2019/20, there were just under 61,000 emergency admissions for unintentional injuries. This represents 1 in 10 of all emergency admissions in Scotland. In 2019, unintentional injuries led to 2,726 deaths.
  • Death rates due to unintentional injuries in adults were 90% higher in the most deprived areas but 48% lower in the least deprived areas when compared to the Scottish average.
  • Deaths from poisonings have more than doubled since 2011. There were 1,260 deaths due to poisoning in 2019, an increase from 461 in 2011. This is in line with National Records of Scotland statistics showing recent increases in drug related deaths.
Image caption Deaths due to poisoning year ending 31 December 2011-2019
Deaths due to poisoning year ending 31 December 2012-2019
  • Falls were by far the most common cause of emergency admissions for unintentional injuries in children, for both males and females, accounting for almost half (44%) of the 7,143 emergency admissions in 2019/20.
  • The rate of falls in those aged 65 and over has increased from 19.9 per 1,000 in 2010/11 to 22.6 per 1,000 in 2019/20. 85% of unintentional injuries in this age group were due to falls.


Unintentional injuries can occur in any age group, but children and the elderly are more vulnerable. The term ‘unintentional injury’ is used rather than ‘accidents’ as ‘accident’ implies that events are unavoidable when actually a high proportion of these incidents are preventable.

The information comes from hospital administrative systems across Scotland, up to and including the financial year 2019/20 and from death registrations sourced from National Records of Scotland, up to and including calendar year 2019.

Further information

Find out more in the full report. The data from this publication are available to download from the data files section of this page and from the NHS Scotland Open Data site (external website).

Interactive visual content is presented in the Unintentional Injuries Dashboard. Information is presented over time, age group and gender.

For more information on hospital care see the hospital care section of the Data and Intelligence website (external website).

The next release of this publication will be September 2021.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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