THE number of people seriously injured after being stabbed has hit a new high in the Lothians.
New figures show the two major accident and emergency departments in the Lothians admitted 180 stab victims in the last year – a 15 per cent increase in a single year and almost double the number from four years ago.
The figures are believed to be the highest since records were made available in the late 1990s.
It also emerged that 226 ‘bed days’ are now taken up treating the victims of knife crime.
Dr Dave Caesar, clinical director of A&E at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and St John’s Hospital, said the increasing problem added to a staff already dealing with a rise in patients from 86,000 to 111,000 in eight years.
He said: “There aren’t really any days when we’re not using our full capacity.”
And he said that knife crime victims and those attending hospital with them were often difficult to deal with.
He added: “They can be difficult clinically to manage, they can be difficult behaviourally to manage and they do place a moderately significant burden on NHS services.”
Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill has said the No Knives, Better Lives campaign had caused knife-carrying offences to drop by up to 35 per cent in the west of Scotland.
But Labour leader Iain Gray said the figures showed a possible complacency on the issue in the east.
He said: “Kenny MacAskill foolishly described knife crime as only a problem in the west of Scotland three years ago. These figures just show how wrong and complacent he has been.”