Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Head injuries to females on the rise

Headway – the brain injury charity – releases statistics as part of “Action for Brain Injury” week

The respected charity, Headway, has today reported on the latest statistics on the incidence of head injury in the UK. By far the most shocking headline to come out of these statistics is that non-superficial head injuries to women have risen by 24% since 2005-2006.

It has long been known that males are statistically the most likely to sustain head injury – particularly young men, and this remains the case, but it is the increase in the figures for females which has caused the biggest shock. In addition, hospital admission for acquired brain injuries has increased by 10% over the same period. Headway calculates that in 2013-14 there were 162,544 admissions for head injury, or 445 every day, or one every three minutes.

Headway have expressed concern that this increase in numbers is may put pressure on all types of support services, including the vital rehabilitation services provided by Headway and others across the UK. These services provide an invaluable resource in helping people to rebuild their lives. In an environment where funding is being cut, particularly by Local Authorities, there must be a real risk that people who require support and rehabilitation to maximise their recovery – will simply be denied it.

When this increase in incidence of head injury is coupled with the conclusions of some recent academic papers – the picture becomes even more concerning. In a recent paper published by Holloway and Fyson (Acquired Brain Injury, Social Work and the Challenges of Personalisation, British Journal of Social Work (2015) 1-7, the conclusion was drawn that despite their social needs “limited attention has been paid to people with ABI within the social worlk literature and their needs are often overlooked in policy and guidance” and also that there were particular difficulties in reconciling the needs of people with acquired brain injury and the personalisation doctrine of budgeting for services.

Philip Edwards, a Serious Injury expert with Clarke Willmott’s Birmingham office said:-

“The research presented today by Headway, building on an earlier report of Professor Alan Tennant, is an excellent but worrying contribution to the debate centred around the desire to provide first class services for brain injury survivors in the United Kingdom. The Government and Local Authorities must take heed of it in setting policy, and ensuring that the complex needs of this group of people are adequately met. There clearly remains a postcode lottery in the availability of services, and even though there are some real centres of excellence in the UK, and some of the best professionals and voluntary sector workers in the world, resources are already thin and likely to get thinner without proper funding. I would urge people who share these goals to share the report with their MP and local councillors and ask them to be an advocate for making sure brain injury survivors have improvements in service provision going forward”.