News

NHS spends £3,000,000 a year taking objects out of ears and noses

Jewellery, plastic toys and cotton buds are among the 26,000 objects removed from people’s ears and noses last year in hospitals.

The NHS spent almost £3,000,000 removing foreign objects – with children behind around 9/10 cases.

A new study, titled Will Children Ever Learn? analysed the number of people attending hospital to have something removed from an ear or nose.

Young children were the worst culprits for getting things stuck in their noses and ears (Picture: Getty) Jewellery was the most common item children inserted into their nose or ears, the study found. Between 2010 and 2016, 8,752 nasal and 17,325 aural (ear) foreign bodies were removed from adults and children. Youngsters were responsible for 95% of objects removed from noses and 85% of objects removed from ears.

The authors of the paper, published in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons, said an average of 1,218 nasal and 2,479 aural foreign body removals are performed each year at an annual cost of £2,880,148 to NHS England. ‘Foreign body removal is a common reason for young children to present to the emergency department,’ the authors wrote. Analysis of the paediatric data suggested that children aged one to four years are most likely to present with a foreign body in the nose and those aged five to nine years with something in the ear. But youngsters aged one to four were most likely to attend hospital. Jewellery and cotton buds were the most common foreign objects stuffed in noses and ears.

 The researchers said: ‘Overall, items of jewellery are the most common foreign bodies requiring removal in children, accounting for up to 40% of cases. ‘In the nose, jewellery is followed by paper and plastic toys, whereas in the ears, cotton buds and pencils are the most likely culprits after jewellery.’ They added: ‘The occurrence of foreign bodies in children is generally attributed to curiosity, a whim to explore orifices and accidental entry of the foreign body. ‘In adults, habitual cleaning of ears with cotton buds is likely to be the leading cause.’ Dr Simon Morris, an ear, nose and throat specialist who works at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, said: ‘Ask any ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon, and they’ll be able to tell about weird and wonderful objects they have retrieved from the noses and ear of children and adults – pretty much anything that fits. ‘Personally I’ve seen green peas, “googly eyes” and polystyrene balls from bean-bags. In adults, cotton buds seem to be the most common object.’ On advice to parents, he said: ‘Obviously prevention is better than a cure, which is why many toys contain warnings about containing small parts – so by stopping your child putting these objects into their noses, ears and elsewhere is a great start. ‘But otherwise, recognising this early and seeking medical attention is important – particularly if you are worried if this is a battery as these can be very dangerous and have to be dealt with promptly.’ The data was retrieved by researchers in Birmingham and Wales who examined England’s Hospital Episode Statistics on the number of people going to hospital for the removal of something stuck in their nose or ear.


On:01-11-2018

Back