Skip Navigation
Search site

This is our old website. Most information can now be found on our new NHS Digital website. Let us know what you think.

Dog bites: hospital admissions in most deprived areas three times as high as least deprived

April 24, 2014: Hospital admissions for bites and strikes by dogs amongst people living in the most deprived areas of England are three times as high as in the least deprived areas, new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional figures are available

In the 12 months to January 2014, the rate for hospital admissions for dog bites and strikes for people living in the 10 per cent most deprived areas was 24.1 per 100,000 (1,240 admissions), compared to an admission rate of 8.1 per 100,000 (428 admissions) in the 10 per cent least deprived areas6.

Today's figures are from a special topic on bites and strikes caused by certain animals7, presented as part of the monthly provisional Hospital Episode Statistics publication. This shows admissions data broken down by patient demographics, region and type of injury.

The figures show an increase in hospital admissions caused by dogs and other mammals - such as horses, foxes and cats. In the 12 months to January 2014 there were 9,710 hospital admissions - an increase of seven per cent on the previous 12 month period when there were 9,080 admissions.

Of these, dog bites and strikes accounted for 6,740 admissions - an increase of six per cent from the 6,370 admissions in the previous 12 month period. Bites and strikes by other mammals accounted for 2,970 admissions, a 10 per cent increase from the 2,700 admissions in the previous 12 months.

Focussing on dog bites, today's report also shows that in the 12 months to January 2014:

  • Admissions were highest in the summer months.
  • The age group with the highest number of admissions was 0-9 year olds. Admission rates per 100,000 of the population for males in their twenties and thirties were higher than for females, but this is reversed for ages over 40 where there was a higher rate of female admissions for all age groups except 50-59 year olds where admissions were similar.
  • Overall, the most common diagnosis was an open wound of the wrist or hand8. However, children suffered more injuries to their head than any other age group.
  • Plastic surgery was the most common treatment speciality9 for all age groups.

Regionally10, the highest rates of admissions for dog bites and strikes were in Merseyside (281 admissions, 23.6 per 100,000 population), Durham, Darlington and Tees (269 admissions, 22.8 per 100,000), and West Yorkshire (498 admissions, 21.7 per 100,000). Admissions were lowest in Kent and Medway (92 admissions, 5.3 per 100,000 population), Surrey and Sussex (186 admissions, 6.9 per 100,000) and London (634 admissions, 7.6 per 100,000.

Admissions caused by other mammals were highest in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (179 admissions, 10.6 per 100,000) and Thames Valley (196 admissions, 9.6 per 100,000) and lowest in Birmingham and the Black County (65 admissions, 2.7 per 100,000) and London (230 admissions, 2.8 per 100,000).

pdf icon Graph to show rate of finished admission episodes for dog bites by Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010 decile6, February 2013 to January 2014 [74kb]

Kingsley Manning, Chair of the HSCIC, said: "Today's report shows that hospital admissions for bites and strikes by dogs are three times as high in the most deprived areas of England as in the least deprived areas. This is fascinating new data that we haven't produced before.

"Our statistics also show that hospitals have dealt with more admissions for bites and strikes by mammals compared to last year.

"We know that dog bite rates are particularly high among young children. As we head towards the summer months, when admission rates for dog bites are at their highest, these trends may be worth further study by healthcare organisations and public sector bodies."

You can view the full report at

Map available pdf icon here. [128kb]


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). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 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. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England and from approximately 200 independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The HSCIC liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. Figures refer to recorded admissions and are reliant upon the accurate and complete recording of cause of hospital admission. Submissions from the independent sector in particular have improved significantly in recent years.

3. Counts of figures under 1,000 are exact and figures over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

4. Rates per 100,000 of the population have been rounded to one decimal place.

5. 'Admissions' refers to the total number of finished admission episodes including emergency admissions. 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.

6. The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is a measure of multiple deprivation which ranks the relative deprivation of each area of England in a number of domains (such as health and income) and then combines the individual scores to produce a composite score for each area. The patient's residential postcode is then mapped to one of these areas and summarised into 10 groups (deciles) for presentation. The analysis in this topic uses IMD 2010 data.See for further details.

The population denominator is the population in each IMD decile. This was calculated by linking ONS population data to IMD 2010 data via Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) and aggregating in to IMD deciles. Please note that population estimates for IMD deciles are linked to ONS population data from 2010 as this is the latest data available within HES that can be mapped to the corresponding LSOAs. All other population estimates within this report and corresponding rates per 100,000 people, are based on 2012 population data.

7. The codes used within this press release are external cause codes (ICD-10) which are supplementary codes that indicate the nature of any external cause of injury, poisoning or other adverse effects. Only the first external cause code which is coded within the episode is counted in HES.

Dog bites and strikes
W54 - Bitten or struck by dog
Other mammal bites and strikes
W55 - Bitten or struck by other mammals
W53 - Bitten by rat

Please note: figures presented in this report exclude the following animal related cause codes (these had low numbers of admissions):
W56 - Contact with marine animal
W58 - Bitten or struck by crocodile or alligator
W59 - Bitten or crushed by other reptiles

8. The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 20 (14 from 2002-03 to 2006-07 and 7 prior to 2002-03) diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was admitted to hospital.

9. Defines the specialty in which the consultant was working during the period of care.

Treatment specialty codes used:
110 - Trauma and Orthopaedics
214 - Paediatric trauma and Orthopaedics
160 - Plastic surgery
219 - Paediatric plastic surgery
144 - Maxillo facial surgery
217 - Paediatric Maxillo facial surgery
140 - Oral Surgery

For this publication admissions for related categories have been combined e.g. plastic surgery and paediatric plastic surgery have been combined as category 'plastic surgery'.

10. The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or Area Team (AT) containing the patient's normal home address. This does not necessarily reflect where the patient was treated as they may have travelled to another CCG/AT for treatment.

In April 2013 changes to the structure of the NHS came into effect ( Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) were abolished and were replaced with organisations such as Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and NHS England Area Teams (ATs). In addition there are now four NHS England Regions above the Area Teams in the structural hierarchy.

11. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 303 3888.

Close iCM Form