SHOCK new figures show Wigan A&E is having to cope with hundreds of assault victims each year.
The infirmary has seen nearly 450 people - some critically injured, others walking wounded - brought into casualty following attacks over the past two years.
Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) was ranked 59th out of 153 trusts in England and Wales in terms of the ratio of assault victims per 10,000 residents. The rate was 7.1 between March 2012 and April this year.
The figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) point out that some regions had more than double the number of assault admissions than others.
Admissions for assault were highest in the North West (9.9) followed by the North East (9.7). The rates for assaults were lowest in the South Central region (3.5). The average admission rate for England was 6.2.
With much of the focus on city centre revellers being responsible for many of the incidents seen by A&E staff, both club and bar owners and the emergency services are working together to help reduce the amount of problems in the town.
Best Bar None is an accreditation and award scheme, backed by the Wigan Evening Post, which aims to reduce the impact of alcohol-related crime and disorder in Wigan town centre by working closely with pubs, bars and club owners to promote the responsible management of licensed premises.
To qualify, pubs, bars and clubs are required to meet certain standards in operational management, particularly in relation to measures designed to reduce crime and disorder, prevent public nuisance, promote public safety, protect children from harm and raise awareness around alcohol consumption.
Supt Andrea Jones, of Wigan Division, said the police remain committed to ensuring the safety of all visitors to the town centre. She said: “Thousands of people visit the town at the weekend and the majority will have no need to contact GMP.
“However, this data relates to a minority of incidents where people have contacted police because of arguments, mobile phone theft, asking for the nearest taxi rank as well as simple misunderstandings.
“Each one of these calls is dealt with based on its own merit and is prioritised accordingly - officers and staff work with our partners to ensure the most appropriate response is given for each call.
“As part of work to police the town centre, each weekend our teams carry out a night time economy initiative. This includes working with our partners at Wigan Council to ensure that everyone visiting the town has a safe and pleasurable experience.”