POLITICS
01/08/2018 07:00 BST | Updated 01/08/2018 13:31 BST

Knife Crime Victims Face Postcode Lottery Over Hospital Care, Leading Surgeon Warns

There are more specialists in London than elsewhere in the UK.

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Knife crime offences spiked by 16% between 2017 and 2018

Victims of knife crime have a “lottery to play” when it comes to which hospital they are sent to, a leading trauma surgeon has warned. 

Adam Brooks, director of the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre, told the Royal Society of Medicine on Tuesday that levels of care are not “equivalent” across the UK. 

Speaking at a conference on knife crime, he said that trauma centres in the capital – including St Mary’s Hospital, King’s College Hospital and the Royal London Hospital – have “interested visceral trauma surgeons”. 

“You go elsewhere and you don’t have that,” the surgeon said after being asked whether mortality rates for knife crime would be higher without trauma advances over the past 10 years. 

“If you don’t have that, you haven’t got the skill set and you haven’t got the results,” Brooks continued, arguing that the UK has not yet proven why knife crime deaths have fallen in hospitals. 

“I don’t think we can sit on our laurels. We need to get the message across.

“We have been doing it for 10 years and the message still needs to get out there,” he said. “We need interested surgeons at the front line.” 

Brooks’ comments come amid a spike in knife crime in England and Wales. 

In the 12 months leading up to March 2018, 40,147 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument were recorded – a 16% increase on 2016/17 and the highest number since 2010/11.

According to official statistics, 37% of these offences were recorded by the Metropolitan Police alone. 

Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Monday that funding for a scheme designed to divert young people away from violence will be doubled, with the government’s Early Intervention Youth Fund set to receive £22m. 

“Intervening early in the lives of vulnerable young people can help focus their talents on positive activities and steer them away from the dangers of serious violence,” Javid told the BBC

“The fund will support groups at the heart of our communities who educate and interact with youths - and provide them with an alternative to crime.”