by Kevin Chase, SCSN’s new National Development Officer

A new role a new chapter.  A fresh start. After a career in policing, why have I taken on a fantastic opportunity with the Scottish Community Safety Network especially the Home Safety Scotland portfolio? 

I could list several reasons however I will focus on four.  Firstly, it is critical with the numbers of people who tragically lose their lives through accidents in their homes account for nearly half of all accidents in Scotland (Bridging the Gap Injury Surveillance Data 2021).  RoSPA also report that over 1,000 people are receiving treatment in hospital on a daily basis for injuries that occurred in their home.  1,000 injuries!  These figures also do not include other factors, for example treatment outside of hospital.  Taking into account an aging population, cost of living crisis – we may reasonably ask ‘Are these figures likely to increase?’

Secondly, I passionately believe in partnership working to tackle community issues.  Working in silos has always left me puzzled.  Why only bring one opinion to the table when several different viewpoints can lead to a more holistic approach to tackle issues within communities. 

Thirdly, in an operational setting I experienced the impact of slips, trips and falls in homes with calls to the Police to help and thereafter the Scottish Ambulance Service to triage. 

Finally, I love a challenge…

I have been in post for a week.  A week which started with several questions, has led to further questions.  The answers?  They will be found through research and networking.  Yes, networking.  Starting from scratch, building relationships and asking, one of my favourite expressions, “the daft silly laddie question”. 

My other favourite expression is “if not, why not?”  Why do some Local Authority areas record higher injuries in homes than others?  Why can’t injury surveillance data be recorded accurately to provide exact details for injuries in homes across the whole of Scotland?  Especially if treatment is not required at hospital and are triaged by Scottish Ambulance Service?  If not, why not?  Can academic research be completed to understand what works and what does not to reduce injuries in our homes?  If not why not?

The 2017 National Strategic Assessment reported that falls by our elderly community within homes are a “major and growing health concern”.  Costs were reported about £75 million for acute management of these incidents.  Concerns for quality of life after suffering such injuries.  The potential impact on mental health on those who have suffered such injuries.  With an aging population and time spent at home due to pandemic restrictions this figure is likely to be higher and the figure will continue to rise unless we can prevent it.

These are my end of week one questions.  I now start my journey for the answers, which will lead to more questions. However, as Laozi the founder of Chinese Taoism once wrote, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.  So hiking boots on, the walk begins and doors are being knocked….