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This is truly an historic occasion. This supplement and the conference which launches it could, and should, prove pivotal in the history of injury prevention in the UK. Some may think it naive to assume that any conference, let alone any single document, can change the course of history. But events have proven otherwise. There are many examples in the world of politics, and even in science, but the closest parallel in the case of injury is the publication of Injury in America.1 As Professor Susan Baker explains in the Foreword, that conference and the document that followed had a profound effect on events in the United States. These culminated in the establishment of the National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control. By so doing, the United States joined the “big league” of players on the injury control scene: countries like Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand. In my view, this supplement and conference will most assuredly reach its objective if something similar happens in the UK. If not, this country may continue to languish in the backwaters.
It may well be that conferences such as this only serve to ratify decisions that policy makers have already made or are inclined to make. Whether this is the case, or whether it works the other way around, matter little. The important issue is that there be a sensible and appropriate response to the issues raised. By appropriate, I mean one that is commensurate with the size and seriousness of the problem injuries represent. Equally important is that the response be made quickly. With each day of delay, lives are lost that could be saved; children are disfigured or disabled who could remain healthy. Thus, major steps must be taken in the UK, or any country for that matter, if it …