Self harm hospital admissions rise

The number of hospital admissions for people who self harm has risen 11% in three years, figures showed today.

Data for England revealed almost 10,000 more admissions for self harm, taking the figure to 104,340 in 2009/10.

This is up 3% on the previous year and an 11% rise on figures for 2006/07.

People are significantly more likely to hurt themselves in summer than December - the month with the lowest number of recorded admissions.

In May 2010, there were 10,340 hospital admissions for self harm but in the preceding December, the figure was 7,490. A similar pattern occurred in the previous year.

Today's report, from the NHS Information Centre, said self poisoning is the most likely reason for people to be admitted to hospital, frequently due to painkillers or prescription drugs.

Of self poisoning cases, 58,280 were admissions among women and 37,750 were among men.

Intentional self harm by a "sharp or blunt object" was the second most common reason for admission, accounting for 4,170 cases among women and 3,770 among men.

People living in the North East are the most likely to be admitted of anywhere in the country (367 women and 288 men per 100,000 of the population).

Meanwhile, those living in London are the least likely to need admission (158 women and 96 men per 100,000 of the population).

As well as the North East, a cluster of primary care trusts (PCTs) in the North West had much higher than average admission rates, and there were several hotspots in other parts of England.

In the North West, PCTs included Wirral, Western Cheshire, Halton and St Helens, Warrington, Knowsley, Ashton, Leigh and Wigan and Salford.

Elsewhere, rates were higher than average in Hull, Leeds, Derby, Leicester, Bristol, Swindon, Torbay, Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton.

NHS Information Centre chief executive, Tim Straughan, said: "This report highlights self poisoning as the most likely reason for a person to be admitted for intentional self harm; with the use of painkillers or prescription drugs a common factor.

"It also shows that the North East and North West of England have higher than average rates of admissions, along with pockets of the country that includes several areas of the south coast.

"As we head towards December it is interesting to note that provisional information points to this particular month as previously having the lowest number of intentional self harm admissions, while May appears to be near the opposite end of the scale."

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