Health problem in fifth of drownings

Funding has been increased to educate older people on the benefits of swimming as well as the impact of prescribed medications and medical conditions while in the water

AFTER statistics revealed a fifth of all drownings involved someone with a pre-existing medical condition, with nearly half over the age of 65, the Government has splashed out on funding to boost safety at public pools.

It has provided $95,000 to the Royal Life Saving Society to help develop resources and programs that raise awareness about the health benefits of swimming while educating the community about the impact of prescribed medications and medical conditions.
“Of the 249 people who tragically drowned across Australia over the last 12 months, 48 were known to have a pre-existing medical condition,” Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant said
“This represents about 20 per cent of all drowning deaths, and of these 83 per cent were male and more than 48 per cent were aged 65 and over.
“We want to ensure that older Australians can lead happy and healthy lives but there also needs to be safety measures in place to address the risks that older people face when swimming.”
The overall program aims to refresh aquatic skills by enrolling people in adult learn to swim classes and lifesaving courses.
It also involves communication materials for older swim centre visitors and online resources to assist with employee education.
NSW Royal Life Saving Society CEO Michael Ilinsky says education and swimming lessons are absolutely crucial to help reduce overall fatalities in swimming pools.
“We welcome the Government’s investment in this area to help prevent more drownings so people can enjoy their local swimming pool safely,” Mr Ilinsky said.
“Increasing education about the impacts of pre-existing conditions and prescribed medicines on swimmers is a really important part of minimising risk,” Mr Ilinsky said.
“This will ensure people are properly informed, and aquatic centres are supported with the right resources and programs in place to welcome more swimmers.”
The program will support more than 300 public aquatic facilities across NSW, and will be rolled out over the coming months.