Staffordshire’s Chief Fire Officer has today reiterated the life-saving potential of partnerships between the Service and the NHS in the wake of shocking Government statistics.
"The statistics released by the Government today are worryingly high, particularly the revelation that 27 per cent more people die during the winter months compared with other times of the year. Many of these deaths could be avoided if there is greater understanding and increased partnership working between public sector organisations."
Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford
The figures released by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that an estimated 43,900 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2014/15 - the highest since 1999/2000.
The majority of people who fell into this category in the last financial year - an estimated 36,300 – were aged 75 and over compared to 7,700 people who were aged under 75.
Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said that the statistics reinforced the need for a strong and committed collaboration between partners in order to protect the most vulnerable members of the community.
He added: "The statistics released by the Government today are worryingly high, particularly the revelation that 27 per cent more people die during the winter months compared with other times of the year. Many of these deaths could be avoided if there is greater understanding and increased partnership working between public sector organisations.
"In Staffordshire, we firmly believe that by joining forces with our partners in the NHS and social care we can have a major impact on the shocking upward trend we have witnessed with the release of these figures today. Our ethos is that we should identify and act upon possible issues before they come to fruition, avoiding a potential crisis for the individual involved.
"Earlier this month we, along with two other fire and rescue services, launched a truly ground-breaking pilot project with Public Health England which will benefit tens of thousands of the country’s most vulnerable residents. We have pledged to work together to tackle health and social problems and reduce winter pressures by making vital changes to the way we work. Our firefighters and community safety officers are now carrying out extended ‘Safe and Well’ checks which means that our home safety visits are much more in-depth, focusing specifically on vulnerable residents and those with complex needs.
"With approximately 670,000 home safety checks carried out across the country every year, this is an incredible opportunity for us to reach those who are most in need of support. As well as reducing the risk of a fire, our aim is to decrease health risks such as falls, loneliness and isolation which will, in turn, result in a reduction of people attending A&E, suffering broken hips and experiencing depression.
"This is just one of many joint projects that we are involved in across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent that will help us to achieve our goals of improving the health, wellbeing and safety of our residents, bringing about the best possible outcomes for our communities."
For more details on collaborative work Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is doing with the NHS, social care and other organisations click the following link: http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/Documents/fire_and_rescue_authority_22-10-2015.pdf