HUNDREDS of hospital spaces are being taken up due to violent crime.

Recent figures have revealed that doctors at University Hospital Southampton treated 330 patients who had been assaulted.

This is an average of more than six patients every week.

They were among 2,920 assault victims recorded across the South East.

The figures published by the NHS cover 2019-20.

Anti-violence charities now say it is clear more needs to be done to tackle issues such as knife crime and alcohol-fuelled brawls.

Southampton MP, Royston Smith, says he has met with the Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Minister for Policing, Kit Malthouse to discuss a crackdown on county lines which he believes drives violent crime.

He also hopes to secure further funding for British Transport Police to tackle drug dealing networks.

He added: “The reason kids get on trains is because people use them [drugs].

“People think that recreational cannabis use is ok.

“But, there is no way you can get these things legally.”

The MP for Southampton Itchen added: “People just assume there is a group of people that do drugs. However, there are people in their modest homes doing drugs who are part of the problem.”

Across England, 28,905 assault admissions were recorded, with 29,483 episodes of consultant care between them.

Local breakdowns on the type of assault are not available, but nationally assault by bodily force was the most common cause, accounting for 16,852 hospital stays.

This was followed by knife and sharp object attacks (4,674) and assaults with a blunt object (2,115).

Patrick Green, CEO of anti-knife charity the Ben Kinsella Trust, said it was a relief to see a drop in knife-related injuries, after admissions fell from 5,069 in 2018-19. But with admissions the third highest for a decade he said there is a “long way to go before we can start to think we are turning the tide on knife crime”.