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 2020/21, there were just under 55,500 emergency admissions for unintentional injuries. This represents 1 in 9 of all emergency admissions in Scotland. In 2020, unintentional injuries led to 2,759 deaths.
  • The initial months of Scotland going into emergency measures due to COVID-19 are included within the latest financial year 2020/21. This has had a direct impact on the number of emergency admissions for unintentional injuries which are down by 10% from the previous year. This represents the first year on year decrease in 8 years.
Image caption Emergency hospital admissions as a result of an unintentional injury; All ages, by gender, year ending 31 March 2012-2021
Emergency hospital admissions as a result of an unintentional injury; All ages, by gender, year ending 31 March 2012-2021
  • Death rates due to unintentional injuries in adults were 94% higher in the most deprived areas but 49% lower in the least deprived areas when compared to the Scottish average.
  • 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 (43%) of the 6,115 emergency admissions in 2020/21.
  • The rate of falls in those aged 65 and over has increased from 19.8 per 1,000 in 2011/12 to 21.7 per 1,000 in 2020/21. 88% of unintentional injuries in this age group were due to falls.

Background

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 2020/21 and from death registrations sourced from National Records of Scotland, up to and including calendar year 2020.

Further information

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 PHS website.

The next release of this publication will be October 2022.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.benchmarkingproject@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

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: 13 June 2022
Was this page helpful?