Self harm: hospital admission rate per 100,000 population in North East almost triple the rate in London

  • Drug poisoning most common reason for self harm admission in England

*Selected regional information to PCT level available on request from this report

The North-East has almost triple the rate of self harm hospital admissions compared to London, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) figures show today.

In the 12 months to August 2012, the North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) admitted 330 cases of self harm per 100,000 of its population (8,560 admissions in total), compared to 114 cases per 100,000 in London SHA (9,340).

This is similar to the previous 12 month period, when the North East admitted 332 cases per 100,000 (8,650) and London admitted 124 admissions per 100,000 (9,670).

Nationally, hospitals admitted 110,960 self harm cases in the 12 months to August 2012, a 0.4 per cent increase on the previous 12 month period (110,490). This compares to a 1.9 per cent increase in admissions overall (for all conditions).

The figures are part of a special topic on intentional self harm, presented as part of the monthly provisional Hospital Episode Statistics publication released today. Provisional figures, considering self harm admissions only, for the 12 months to August 2012 show almost nine out of ten admissions were for self-poisoning (89.4 per cent, or 99,200 admissions). Of these:

  • 41,530 admissions were due to “nonopioid analgesics, antipyretics and antirheumatics”, which include non-prescription pain-killers like ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin. This is a 4.2 per cent decrease on the previous 12 month period (43,360) and is largely due to fewer admissions for women aged under 30.

  • 9,270 admissions were due to “narcotic and hallucinogenic drugs including cocaine, heroin and methadone”. This is a 14.2 per cent increase on the previous 12 month period (8,120) with the greatest rise seen in patients aged 30 and over.

Today’s data also shows, considering all 110,960 self harm admissions in the 12 months to August 2012:

  • Just under eight per cent (7.6 per cent, or 8,420) were for injuries caused by sharp or blunt objects,
  • Three per cent (3,340) were for injuries caused by other means including hanging, drowning, jumping and firearms,
  • Nearly three in five admissions (59.3 per cent, or 65,830) were for women,
  • The largest percentage of admissions by age were for patients aged 15 to 19 – at 14.2 per cent (15,680). However, this age group also saw the largest decrease compared to the previous 12 month period at 6.7 per cent (1,130).
  • The 55 to 59 age group saw the biggest percentage increase in admissions compared to the previous 12 month period – rising by 12.1 per cent (460) to 4,250.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Today’s figures show the impact of intentional self harm on our society and hospitals - where the result of somebody purposely damaging their body is so serious they need to be admitted to hospital. However, these statistics do not include people who are dealt with solely in Accident and Emergency, or of course those who may self harm but are never treated in hospital.

“The figures point towards a very clear difference in admission rates per 100,000 population for self harm in some parts of the country, with the North East of England recording triple the rate of admissions according to population size than the capital.

“Nationally, the number of self harm admissions has not increased markedly on the previous year. But if we analyse patterns in admission by age; it appears there has been a fall in admissions for 15 to 19-year-olds, even though they still make up the biggest proportion of self harm cases coming through the hospital door. In contrast, the statistics point to an increase in admissions among older patients, in particular among patients aged 55 to 59.”

Today’s figures can be accessed at:


Notes to editors

  1. HSCIC was previously known as the NHS Information Centre. It is England’s authoritative, independent source of health and social care information. It works with a wide range of health and social care providers nationwide to provide the facts and figures that help the NHS and social services run effectively. Its role is to collect data, analyse it and convert it into useful information which helps providers improve their services and supports academics, researchers, regulators and policymakers in their work. The HSCIC also produces a wide range of statistical publications each year across a number of areas including: primary care, health and lifestyles, screening, hospital care, population and geography, social care and workforce and pay statistics.
  2. Today’s press release focuses on a special topic which is part of a wider monthly publication of all provisional inpatient, outpatient and A&E activity in NHS hospitals in England. The publication includes provisional monthly data for April 2012 to August 2012 and final data for all months to March 2012.
  3. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England and from some 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.
  4. A change in methodology in 2011-12 resulted in an increase in the number of records where the PCT or SHA of residence was unknown.  From 2006-07 to 2010-11 the current PCT and SHA of residence fields were populated from the recorded patient postcode.  In order to improve data completeness, if the postcode was unknown the PCT, SHA and country of residence were populated from the PCT/SHA value supplied by the provider.  From April 2011-12 onwards if the patient postcode is unknown the PCT, SHA and country of residence are listed as unknown.
  5. HES provisional monthly data can be used for high level, aggregate analysis demonstrating approximate trends in activity. Lower level analysis should be approached with caution as not all activity will be correctly processed until the final annual data is produced. HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. Changes to the figures over time need to be interpreted in the context of improvements in data quality and coverage of data recorded (particularly in earlier years), improvements in coverage of independent sector activity (particularly from 2006-07) and changes in NHS practice. For example, apparent reductions in activity may be due to a number of procedures which may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and so no longer included in admitted patient HES data.
  6. A finished admission episode (FAE) is the first period of inpatient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. FAEs are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. Admissions do not represent the number of inpatients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.
  7. 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.
  8. The codes used within this press release are available under the primary diagnosis section (ICD-10) at and are: X60  Inten self pois/expos to nonopiod analges antipy & antirheumatics, X61 Int self pois/expo ant-epi sed-hyp ant park & psy'trop drugs X62  Inten self pois/expos narcots & psy'dysleptics [hallucinogens), X63 Intent self-poison/expos oth drug act on autonom nervous system,X64 Int self-poison/expos to oth & unsp drugs medics & biological substances,X65  Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to alcohol,X66  Intentional self-poison/expos org solvs+halogen hydrocarbons, X67 Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to other gases and vapours   X68, Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to pesticides,   X69  Intent self-poison/expos oth and unspec chems and noxious substances,X70         Intent self-harm by hanging strangulation and suffocation, X71  Intentional self-harm by drowning and submersion, X72 Intentional self-harm by handgun discharge,  X73  Intent self-harm by rifle shotgun & larger firearm discharge, X74 Intent self-harm by other and unspecified firearm discharge,X75         Intentional self-harm by explosive material, X76  Intentional self-harm by smoke fire and flames, X77  Intentional self-harm by steam hot vapours and hot objects, X78   Intentional self-harm by sharp object, X79 Intentional self-harm by blunt object, X80 Intentional self-harm by jumping from a high place, X81  Intent self-harm by jumping or lying before moving object, X82 Intentional self-harm by crashing of motor vehicle, X83 Intentional self-harm by other specified means, X84  Intentional self-harm by unspecified means, Y87.0 Seq intentional self-harm assault & events undetermined intent
  9. 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.
  10. Rates per 100,000 have been calculated using the total population within the specified categories - e.g. for each gender and age – taken from Office of National Statistics population estimates for mid-2010.
  11. The age groups used are: 10-14; 15-19; 20-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44;45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; 70-74; 75-79 and 80+
  12. Regions in this press release relate to Strategic Health Authority (SHA) areas containing the patient’s normal home address. This does not necessarily reflect where the patient was treated as they may have travelled to another SHA/PCT for treatment.
  13. Admission numbers in this press release have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  14. For media enquiries please call 0845 257 6990 or email