ALMOST 90 people were admitted to John Radcliffe Hospital last year with stab wounds, exclusive figures show.

In 2020, the Oxford hospital’s accident and emergency department saw 89 people come through their doors with stab wounds. The figures, obtained exclusively by the Oxford Mail, do not include self-inflicted wounds.

The 89 admissions included five children and eight women. John Radcliffe Hospital is a regional trauma unit treating serious injuries from across the Thames Valley, so it is not possible to say that all those admitted with stab wounds were from Oxfordshire.

The numbers were down slightly from 2019, when 98 people were admitted to the Oxford A&E with stab wounds. Oxford University Hospitals said the method of recording wounds changed in that year, accounting for a significant rise in reports of patients with stab wounds in 2019 and 2020.

The head of Thames Valley’s violence reduction unit, former counter-terrorism chief Supt Stan Gilmour, said tackling knife crime was a key priority for the police and its partners.

“Every incident involving a knife, particularly one that leads to injury, has the potential to be deadly. That is why tackling knife crime and the underlying causes of violence is a priority for Thames Valley Police and all the partners working with the Violence Reduction Unit,” he told the Oxford Mail.

“Across the force area, we have seen an 11 per cent reduction in all knife crime year-on-year, but we recognise these have been extraordinary times. Thames Valley Police continues to deliver high-visibility patrols, a focus on hotspot areas and intelligence-led policing operations to bear down on those involved in crime, who carry weapons and put our communities at risk.

“Tackling knife crime and violence isn’t just a matter for the police. We are working across our wider partners and with local communities to tackle the root causes – particularly helping steer young people clear of crime by providing early intervention and diversion programmes.”

Oxford Mail: Superintendent Stan Gilmour, LPA commander for Reading

Supt Stan Gilmour of Thames Valley Police

He added: “This data tells another story; that sharing information is vital as we work together to tackle violence. The OUH has become one of the best in our region for collecting information and sharing it with the police and others. This is how we create a true understanding of violence, where it occurs, who it is affecting and how we can best target our activities to keep people safe.”

Other data provided by the Thames Valley violence reduction unit showed there were 182 police reports of injuries or murders caused by knives in Oxfordshire last year. That was up slightly on the 178 offences recorded in the previous year, but a reduction on the 185 recorded in 2018

Earlier this month, the emergency services were called after a group of men and boys were reportedly fighting with weapons in Underhill Circus, Barton. A 19-year-old man suffered knife wounds to his arm and thumb.

On June 15, a man walked into Horton General Hospital after he was stabbed in Banbury.

In the wake of both incidents, police put in place section 60 orders allowing officers to stop and search anyone. The orders have to be signed-off by a senior officer if they believe there is a danger of serious violence.

Oxford Mail:

File image of the John Radcliffe Hospital A&E Picture: JON LEWIS

What does OUH say? 

Rob Way, Emergency Department Consultant Nurse at Oxford University Hospitals said: “Our Trust has been sharing this type of data with local partners for over a decade. This was originally based upon the Cardiff model of alcohol/drug violence data sharing, which covered a range of information about the number, but also the location of the assault.

"Importantly this is only shared once we have removed any patient identifiable data, the importance being the information this provides to Public Health, police and other community partners about the location of assaults. 

"This, and other safety work has been delivered by the ED Community Safety Practitioner since we originally ran a pilot in the late 2000s. Our health, police and local government partners tell us that this information sharing is invaluable to them in helping prevent crime and harm.”