Cambridge

The number of people going to hospital for anxiety has soared in Cambridgeshire

The number of people in Cambridgeshire going to hospital with anxiety has soared.

New figures show there were around 14,615 cases of people being treated at hospitals covering Cambridgeshire in 2017/18 with a primary or secondary diagnosis of anxiety.

That was up by 16% from around 12,575 xases in 2016/17 – and is five times higher than the figure of around 2,910 in 2010/11.

It means one in 25 treatment episodes last year at hospitals covering Cambridgeshire involved people suffering from anxiety.

Within the total, around 2,325 episodes involving anxious patients were people aged 50 to 59, while around 1,920 were aged 60 to 69.

While older patients are the most likely to suffer from anxiety, the biggest increase has been in the youngest age groups.

The number of episodes involving patients aged between 10 and 19 with a primary or secondary diagnosis of anxiety has gone up from around 60 in 2010/11 to around 765 in 2017/18.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital (Image: Sunday Mirror)

Cambridge University Hospitals has seen the biggest increase in the number of treatment episodes involving patients with anxiety, up 892% from around 795 in 2010/11 to around 7,890 in 2017/18.

At the trust, one in 23 treatment episodes involved someone with anxiety in 2017/18 – the highest rate locally.

Not all of the people will have been treated for anxiety, as it may have been a secondary diagnosis alongside other conditions.

Doctors can record up to 20 diagnosis per patient. The primary diagnosis is the main condition treated or investigated and is the first one listed, with other medical conditions and factors influencing health that are considered to be clinically relevant also included.

The figures are based on finished consultant episodes (FCE), which are a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant. Figures for trusts are rounded to avoid identifying individual patients.

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Individual patients may have more than one FCE in a year, including more than one in the same hospital stay.

Across England, there were 736,306 FCEs in 2017/18 where the patient had a primary or secondary diagnosis of anxiety.

This was up by a quarter from 590,111 FCEs in 2016/17.

It was also a 351% rise from 163,284 FCEs in 2011/12 and means one patient in 27 now suffers from anxiety.

Philippa Bradnock, Information Manager at Mind, said the increase was interesting, saying it was difficult to know if it was due to more people experiencing anxiety, more people seeking help or better awareness of symptoms.

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She said: “Whatever the reasons might be for the increase, its important treatment is available to everyone who needs it.

“Within the recent budget, we saw additional investment allocated to mental health services. This is welcome but should be seen as a down payment on what will be needed to undo the damage of years of underfunding.

“Weve seen rising demand for mental health services, placing huge pressure of the NHS and meaning that too often people are left without support.”

She said that it was positive that there had been an improvement in public awareness and understanding of mental health in recent years, n part due to things like Time to Change, which is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, but this needed to be met with high quality services for those who need them.

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