May 17, 2024

New research announced for Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2024

For this year’s Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day (Friday 17 May 2024), we are sharing the result of some new research regarding the size of the spinal cord injury population in the UK.

The new key statistics are:

  • 4,400 people are injured or diagnosed with a spinal cord injury (SCI) every year, not 2,500 as previously thought.
  • The total size of the UK SCI population is now believed to be more than 100,000, not 50,000 as previously estimated.
  • This means that approximately every two hours someone sustains a SCI (12 people a day).

The analysis was derived from multiple NHS data sources, including National Spinal Cord Injury Database and the UK Rehabilitation Outcomes Collaborative (UK ROC) covering admissions and referrals. The calculation was based on the yearly incidences of SCI, the life expectancy of those living with SCI and the size of the total population.

The research was conducted by Andrew Coxon, National Spinal Cord Injury Database (NSCID) manager at the NHS, Abigail Lock, CEO at Back Up and Shajia Shahid, clinical research network manager at Spinal Research, with the support of multiple charities; Aspire, Spinal Injuries Association, Spinal Injuries Scotland, Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research, Wings For Life, Regain, Cauda Equina Spinal Cord Injury, Cauda Equina Champions Charity, Wheelpower, and Horatio’s Garden.

While improved data collection and further analysis are necessary, a significant portion of the increase can be attributed to the broader inclusion of both traumatic (stemming from physical trauma) and non-traumatic (e.g., cord compression, tumours, inflammation, and infections) injuries.

It is vitally important to Horatio’s Garden, and to all other charities focused on people with spinal injuries, that all government departments ensure every person with spinal cord injury has the care and support they need and deserve to lead a fulfilled and independent life.

Katie Tait, CEO of Horatio’s Garden said: “The fact that there is double the number of people living with a spinal injury than previous records have shown is really shocking. How can there possibly be adequate health and care systems if the numbers are so out of line. This research is critical in highlighting how important the SI sector has been in supporting far greater numbers than have previously been recognised.”

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the lives of people impacted by spinal injury, and consider what more can be done to ensure they are safe and supported. More information about spinal injuries can be found on the SIA website, or that of any of the other charities linked above.

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