Child and Adolescent Accidents and Injuries


  • Wakefield has high rates of hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries in children.
  • Admissions due to self-harm have almost doubled in 15-19 year olds in the past year.
  • Wakefield has one of the highest rates regionally of hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries in children under 15 years.
  • Overall rates in 2017/18 showed a slight decrease from those in 2016/17.

The Population

Injuries are a leading cause of hospitalisation and represent a major cause of premature mortality for children and young people. They are also a source of long-term health issues, including mental health problems. They can affect any child aged under 19 in the district. This equates to around 71,000 children in the district.

The Challenges

Data shows that Wakefield has high rates of hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries. In 2017/18, Wakefield had significantly higher rates than the national and regional averages for those aged 0 to 4 years, 0 to 14 years and 15 to 24 years. Wakefield had the highest rate regionally of unintentional and deliberate injuries in 0 to 4 year olds in 2016/17, but has seen a large decrease in these in the most recent period. Although the greatest rise was in the 0 to 4 age group, there was also a significant rise in admissions overall in those aged 0 to 14. There has also been a significant rise in admissions caused by self-harm among 15-19 year olds, with almost double the number of admissions in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17.

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Source: Public Health Outcomes Framework

Wakefield is still significantly worse than the national average in terms of hospital admissions due to injuries in children, However the rates in 2017/18 show a slight decrease compared to rates in 2016/17 and 2015/16, where they were among some of the highest in the country.

Self-harm admissions in 15-19 year olds have increased significantly over the past year, with local data showing this is particularly due to intentional self-poisoning. Current rates indicate that around 9 in every 1,000 children aged 15-19 in Wakefield are admitted to hospital due to intentional self-harm. This is around a third higher than the national average.

Wakefield saw a fall in admissions in the period 2015/16 following an in depth piece of work to investigate potential explanations for the high rates in 2013/14 and preceding years which was completed in 2014. In 2014, the key issue identified was a coding anomaly in the data. Patients were being treated in a General Surgical Assessment Unit (GSAU) at the hospital, rather than being seen by the specialist team in the Emergency Department. Attendance at the GSAU was being incorrectly coded as an admission by administrative staff, resulting in the high admission rates described above. The identified coding issue, which is believed to account for a high number of admissions, has been addressed through the contracting process. Changes to the coding of attendances to the GSAU are reflected in 2014/15 data, where there was a notable reduction in admission rates for Wakefield. However, further investigation into increase in the rates for 2016/17 and beyond is still required.

The main cause of admissions due to accidents and injuries among 0-14 year olds in Wakefield was falls (in the three year period 2016/17-2018/19). This is the same across every age category except 15-19 year olds.  The main cause of admissions due to accidents and injuries among 15-19 year olds was intentional self-poisoning, which has remained the same from the previous period

Source: NHS Digital HES Data

The Inequality

Local Data have shown that the deprivation gradient is reflected in these admission, with young people from the most deprived parts of Wakefield district making up a greater proportion of the admissions. These are shown in the figures below.

Source: NHS Digital HES Data

Source: NHS Digital HES Data

Community Assets


UK Government: Preventing injuries in the under 5

NICE: Unintentional injuries – prevention strategies for under 15s