BOROUGH chiefs say the health and wellbeing of Cheshire West’s youngsters ‘is of paramount importance’ amid a rise in hospital admissions for mental health conditions.

Recently-released figures from Public Health England show that 2016-17 saw a surge in the number of 0 to 17-year-olds being admitted to hospital for mental health conditions over the previous year.

Across the borough, there were 109.7 admissions per 100,000 population – a 15 per cent rise on 2015-16, and more than double the borough’s lowest rate from 2012-13, which stood at 43.9 per 100,000 population.

Cllr Nicole Meardon, CWAC cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people in Cheshire West and Chester is of paramount importance and this is reflected within our recently-published public health annual report.

“The council is fully committed to working with all of our key partners such as local NHS organisations, the police and voluntary sector, in order to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of all our residents.

“The council and our local NHS clinical commissioning groups are working collectively with a wide number of community partners, to enable children, young people and their families to receive enhanced support in the community in relation to risk-taking behaviours and mental health.”

Hospital admissions for 10 to 24-year-olds from the borough who had self harmed also saw a major increase in 2016-17.

Cheshire West’s figure for that year stood at 497.1 per 100,000 population, compared to 400.5 in 2015-16 – a surge of almost a quarter.

CWAC says the increases could be the result of local health and wellbeing services engaging with young people and supporting them in distress at an earlier stage – with increased awareness and support available to them.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Cheshire East saw an even higher number of hospital admissions for youngsters with mental health conditions in 2016-17 at 155.1 per 100,000 population – almost double the national average of 81.5.

Esther McVey, Conservative MP for Tatton, said last week she would look into why the figures were so high.