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Wide regional variation in hospital admissions for assault

July 18 2013: Hospital admissions for assaults vary markedly by region according to new figures for England, which show a 15 per cent fall in assault admissions nationally compared to last year.

*A sentence has been removed from this press release relating to PCT-level data on admissions for assaults as it was potentially misleading. Readers should note that the admission figures in this release relate to where the patient was treated, not where they live or where the assault they suffered occurred.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) some regions had more than double the number of assault admissions of others. For example the North West had 9.9 assault cases per 10,000 of the population compared to 3.5 cases per 10,000 of the population in South Central.

Today's provisional figures relate only to assault victims whose injuries were so serious they required an inpatient admission, with the majority arriving via A&E departments. Today's report does not include those treated solely in A&E and discharged as information in this area is very limited, although HSCIC is continuing its work with the NHS to improve A&E data.

This report is part of a special topic on assaults presented as part of the monthly provisional Hospital Episode Statistics publication, which covers inpatient, outpatient and A&E activity in England.

It shows that, considering all assault admissions in England from April 2012 to March 2013:

  • Hospitals admitted 32,980 assault cases, a 15 per cent fall compared to the previous 12 months (38,770).
  • 80.9 per cent of assault admissions arrived via A&E (compared to 81.6 per cent in the previous 12 months). The remaining cases include GP referrals and people being admitted for follow-up treatment4.
  • Assault by bodily force was the most common form of assault admission (64.7 per cent or 21,350), followed by assault by sharp object (11.6 per cent or 3,830). This is a similar pattern to the previous 12 months, when there were 24,870 bodily force admissions (64.2 per cent) and 4,490 sharp object admissions (11.6 per cent).
  • Admissions were highest in those aged 20 to 24 years (21.1 per cent of the total or 6,930) and this was seen in the 2011-12 report as well (20.9 per cent or 8,190).
  • Men accounted for more than four out of five admissions for assault (82.2 per cent) which is similar to last year (82.6 per cent).

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "Today's figures clearly show regional variation in the levels of assault experienced by local populations which result in hospital admissions.

"This information provides crucial evidence for health service commissioners, as well as local councils and police forces, ensuring they can direct resources effectively to the problem."


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). The trusted source of authoritative data and information relating to health and care, HSCIC plays a fundamental role in driving better care, better services and better outcomes for patients. It supports the delivery of IT infrastructure, information systems and standards to ensure information flows efficiently and securely across the health and social care system to improve patient outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 130 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. The quality and coverage of the data have improved over time. These improvements in information submitted by the NHS have been particularly marked in the earlier years and need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. Some of the increase in figures for later years (particularly 2006-07 onwards) may be due to the improvement in the coverage of independent sector activity. Changes in NHS practice also need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. For example, a number of procedures may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and may no longer be accounted for in the HES data. This may account for any reductions in activity over time.

3. The codes used within this press release are: X86 assault by corrosive substance; X88 assault by gases and vapours; X90 assault by unspecified chemical and noxious substances; X92 assault by drowning and submersion; X99 assault by sharp object; Y00 assault by blunt object; Y02 assault by pushing or placing victim before moving object; Y04 assault by bodily force; Y05 sexual assault by bodily force.

4. Please note that these data should not be described as a count of people as the same person may have been admitted or treated on more than one occasion. The data includes cases where individuals have been admitted to hospital for follow-up treatment, such as via a GP referral.

5. Figures greater than 1000 in this press release have been rounded to the nearest 10.

6. Standardised rates have been calculated at a rate of per 10,000 of the population in that group or area.

7. For media enquires please call 0845 257 6990 or email

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