Monday 11 December 2017

Get me better - and make it snappy

Crocodiles were responsible for some of the most unusual hospital admissions
Crocodiles were responsible for some of the most unusual hospital admissions

Three people bitten or struck by a crocodile or alligator were admitted to hospitals in England in one year, according to newly-released figures.

This was eclipsed by the 75 admissions for patients who had been bitten or crushed by other reptiles, the annual statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

They were just some of the strange injuries for which people went to hospitals in 2013/14, which saw NHS hospitals deal with an average of 870 more patient admissions than the previous year.

The figures also show that people were admitted to hospital 94 times for neglect or abandonment, with 17 of these admissions in babies under the age of one and 56 in other children under 18. Nine were for people aged 70 or over.

The greatest number of admissions by age group was in patients aged 65 to 69, which also saw the greatest increase compared to the year before, from 1.2 million to 1.3 million admissions.

The most commonly-recorded external causes were falls, at 421,800 admissions - an increase of 2.7%. Patients aged 65 or over accounted for nearly two-thirds of these, at 63.2%.

Across the age groups, falls on ice and snow saw 1,173 admissions while there were 16 victims of lightning, and assault by pesticides led to 11 visits to hospital.

Encounters with animals also accounted for 37 admissions for people bitten by a rat, 6,836 for people bitten or struck by a dog, and 3,086 for people bitten or struck by another mammal.

Bites or stings from non-venomous insects or spiders led to 3,813 admissions while injuries from spiky or sharp plants resulted in 338.

Contact with venomous snakes, lizards and spiders led to patients attending hospital on 74 occasions, while 1,170 went after getting too close for comfort to hornets, wasps and bees, and two were injured by scorpions.

Contact with marine animals led to 17 admissions while p eople being crushed, pushed or stepped on by a crowd or human stampede led to 112, the HSCIC said.

Regionally, Durham, Darlington and Tees had the highest rate of admissions per population at 340 per 1,000 residents (400,400 admissions) while Thames Valley had the lowest rate at 230 per 1,000 (479,200 admissions).

The Unison union's head of health, Christina McAnea, said: "The fact that more and more people are turning to A&E when no extra money has been invested to anticipate this rise in admissions should be ringing alarm bells. There is a serious risk of system failure stemming from the lack of adequate funding.

"Without the right resources, A&E departments are at risk of becoming even more overloaded. The failure to introduce safe staffing levels means there are too few health workers for the number of patients.

"If this Government is serious about the future of the NHS, ministers must ensure that there is a long-term sustainable funding plan in place."

Press Association

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