Rob Benington

Rob Benington – Injury Prevention Manager, NHS Bristol

Rob is the Injury Prevention Manager for NHS Bristol, and he is also the co-ordinator for Avonsafe – a safety partnership which has been running for 15 years.

Avonsafe is a partnership that encourages organisations to work together to help reduce accidental injury. It covers the old Avon area, with local groups co-ordinated by local injury prevention specialists.

Rob’s role, funded by the primary care trusts, is to:

  • co-ordinate activity within the partnership
  • ensure agencies are working effectively together; and
  • develop the partnership as a whole.

He has a particular role supporting Avonsafe (Bristol), whose members include:

“The Avonsafe partnership is one of the oldest safety partnerships in the country and so contains a wealth of experience. I’ve been involved with it for only a couple of years, but have found its energy for reducing injury really positive to work with. Recently, improving links with safeguarding boards has brought new alliances and opportunities for awareness raising and improving service delivery are constantly emerging from the meetings”.

One of the key drivers for the partnership’s success is the Avonsafe Injury Prevention Strategy. In his role as Avonsafe co-ordinator, Rob helps to follow the targets set out in the strategy and ensure that all partners are working towards the same goals.

Injury Prevention Manager

Based within NHS Bristol, the local primary care trust, Rob was appointed to tackle NI70 and VSC29 – indicators (one a national indicator and one an NHS ‘vital sign’) which measure emergency hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries to children and young people.

Rob aims to:

  • identify priority areas of work based on hospital admissions; and 
  • establish programmes that will reduce injuries and hospital admissions in these priority areas.

"A lot of the information that informs priorities for the area comes from hospital episode statistics. These give an indication of the types of injuries that are most common. NHS Bristol has mapped hospital admissions and attendance data by postcode to identify areas of Bristol with the highest incidence and prevalence of injury. These maps are informing the PCT's strategy”.

Rob says that the information gained from the hospital episode statistics is invaluable.

“When we looked at the data we discovered quite a lot that hadn’t been tackled before. For instance, non-collision cycling injuries are a much bigger cause of serious injury than we had initially thought. Prompted by this data, Avonsafe teamed up with Cycling City in Bristol to research the causes of non-collision incidents and is taking action as a result of the research findings, I’d recommend that everyone involved in injury prevention takes a look at the Hospital Episode Statistics for their area."

Establishing priorities

NHS Bristol has identified three key priority areas for 2010/11:

  • Accidental poisoning from products that contain paracetamol
  • Burns and scalds
  • Home fire safety.

Tackling local priorities

These three priorities are the focus when creating new accident prevention programmes. To reduce burns and scalds, Avonsafe (Bristol) has created a burns and scalds resource pack to help childcare providers raise awareness of the issue.

Through the Avonsafe partnership, Rob is raising awareness of the high numbers of children admitted to hospital with paracetamol poisonings, and has created a case series called Dangerous Doses to distribute to childcare providers.

“Parents may underestimate the hazard posed by everyday cold remedies and painkillers that contain paracetamol. Our message to them is simple: Keep it locked away.”

Avonsafe resources

Visit the Avonsafe website to download resources for practitioners including;

If you'd like to find out more information about Avonsafe please contact Rob Benington at:

Updated February 2011