Assaults are sending more people to A&E in Bristol – and the early hours of the morning is when the risk is highest.
There were 2,190 visits to Bristol A&Es due to assaults in 2018/19 – the highest number since comparable records began in 2013/14.
The numbers were up from 1,820 in 2017/18, and compare to 1,975 in 2013/14, according to figures from NHS Digital.
Most of the A&E visits took place at hospitals run by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust, with 1,525 in 2018/19.
The most common time for assault-related A&E trips at the trust was between 2am and 3am – there were around 90 cases during this time period last year.
People were slightly more likely to go to A&E due to assaults at the trust between midnight and 6am – 30% of visits took place during this time period.
However, that’s down from 50% in 2013/14.
North Bristol NHS Trust saw 665 A&E visits due to assault in 2018/19, up from 415 a year before.
Between 1am and 2am was the most common time for arrivals – with 50 in 2018/19.
The trust saw 29% of all A&E visits for assaults take place between midnight and 6am.
Across England, there were 84,680 visits to A&E due to assaults.
The number of visits across the country is falling – it was down from 109,485 in 2017/18, and from 144,535 in 2013/14.
As well as this, the time at which people were most likely to arrive at A&Es due to assaults has also changed.
Between 2013/14 and 2016/17, the busiest times were around 1am to 3am.
However, it has since been getting earlier in the evening.
The most common time for A&E arrivals due to assaults was between 8pm and 9pm in 2017/18, and between 6pm and 7pm in 2018/19.
In 2013/14, 31% of people who went to A&E after being assaulted arrived between midnight and 6am.
However, by 2018/19, that had fallen to 24% of the total.
In comparison, the proportion of arrivals between 6pm and midnight rose from 28% to 29% over the same period.
The change in peak hours for assault victims arriving at A&E may be linked to changing patterns in knife crime.
Analysis by trauma specialists at the Royal London Hospital found that the average age of stabbing victims had fallen from the late 20s to just 18 between 2004 and 2014, and an increasing proportion of victims are teenagers.
It found that the time when under-16s are in the greatest danger of being stabbed is between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays, with 22% attacked during this time period.
Almost half of under-16s were stabbed on their way home from school.
Research by Redthread, a charity which works with young victims of violent crime and A&E staff, found similar findings, as data across London, Nottingham and Birmingham showed 30% of weapon-enabled assaults occur between 4pm to 8pm.
The figures, from NHS Digital, are rounded to the nearest five. They cover cases were the reason for visit was recorded as assault.
Variations in numbers may be due to changes in numbers being assaulted, although they may also be due to variations in recording practice.
For the latest news in and around Bristol, check back on Bristol Live’s homepage.