Pavement flaws cost the NHS £1bn a year


Help the Aged have called on local authorities to improve paving after a survey found 2.5m people over 65 have tripped over recently on defective kerbs or flagstones. A third of those who fell had to be taken to hospital and another third needed to consult a GP. “For the over-75s falls are a leading cause of mortality. We estimate that one person dies every five hours as the result of a fall and it costs the NHS £981m annually,” a spokeswoman said. The research based on interviews with a representative, found that of more than 1000 pensioners, 56% go out of their way to avoid routes that may have faulty or damaged pavements. The charity called on older people and their families to challenge local authorities to pay more attention to the problem. It distributed campaign postcards for older people to send to town hall, naming hazardous streets where the paving needed repair. The Local Government Association said: “Councils are committed by helping elderly people get safely through their day. But a triple-whammy of central government targets, rising street maintenance costs, and a freeze on government funding is placing huge pressures on council services. “Expectations and pressures on council street maintenance are increasing, costs are rising, but funding simply isn’t keeping pace. The bottom line is local authority street maintenance budgets need a boost of £200m a year just to keep up with inflation.”

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