Nine pensioners a day are being admitted to hospital in and around Birmingham because of falls – and the number is rising.
There were 3,420 “finished admission episodes” involving people over 65 and caused by a trip or slip in the year to March 2018, according to exclusive data provided by NHS England.
Some 2,040 were at the former Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, 790 at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and 590 at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.
The overall total of 3,420 works out as more than 65 incidents a week, on average.
It is up from 3,080 the previous financial year.
A “finished admission episode” means a patient has been admitted to a hospital and cared for by a specific consultant.
Of the 3,420 cases in 2017/18, more than half – 1,980 – involved the pensioner simply slipping, tripping or stumbling on an even surface.
In a further 705 cases the person fell off a stair or step, in 485 they fell from a bed, and in 230 they fell from a chair.
Across England, the number of FAEs caused by an over-65s hospitalised suffering a trip or fall rose from 111,181 in 2016/17 to 116,450 in 2017/18.
All the numbers provided by the NHS are rounded to the nearest five to protect anonymity.
The charity AgeUK says falls are the most common reason for older people to be taken to accident and emergency departments.
They recommend a number of measures including keeping active and healthy, having an up-to-date eyesight test, keeping stairs and steps clutter free, and wearing appropriate footwear.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics last year shows that the number of deaths caused by falls more than doubled between 2008 and 2016.
That was despite the fact the total number of very elderly people in the UK – those aged over 85 – increased by only 20 per cent.
Falls among the very elderly, and frail, are much more serious than among younger, fitter people.
They can result in a bleed on the brain, or a broken hip from which it can be difficult to recover.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has previously estimated falls among older people cost the NHS as much as £2.3bn a year.
The data provided by NHS England only includes FAEs where the admission was given a “cause code”, and the primary cause code was some form of fall.
It does not include cases where a fall may had contributed to the admission, but was not recorded as the primary cause.