A SHOCKING report showing Wirral has highest level of obesity-related hospital admissions in the north west has been disputed by the council.

A review published by NHS Digital revealed hospital admissions per population due to obesity in the borough had hit nearly 10,000 in one year.

Also on the list is Liverpool with 4,693 admissions, Cheshire East with 3564 and Cheshire West and Chester with 4023.

Reflecting on Dr Kailash Chand, the British Medical Association’s north west regional council chairman, said: "This highlights the enormous scale of the problem we face with an increase of 18% in obesity related hospital admissions in the last year.

"In the north west, Wirral had the highest level of obesity-related hospital admissions per population with 9,857 admissions between 2016/17.

"This highlights the need for a more comprehensive approach to tackling obesity and promoting healthy diets in the area.

"The recent introduction of the soft drinks levy is a long-overdue step in reducing the prevalence of obesity.”

He continued: "With over a quarter of adults and one-in-five Year Six students being obese, we must go further with similar restrictions on the marketing and promotion of unhealthy food and drinks to reduce the prevalence of obesity.

"As is often the case, prevention is the best solution but efforts to tackle obesity are being undermined by cuts to public health services, which have included cuts to children’s and adult’s obesity services.

"This a national health crisis and one that will not go away until the necessary further steps are taken."

A town hall representative said: "These statistics are based on hospital admissions which are not a good way of determining which area has the highest rates of excess weight, as they depend on individual coding practices at a particular hospital where a secondary diagnosis of obesity may be useful in planning care.

"A range of different data and information is used to understand the levels of overweight and obesity in Wirral and these indicate Wirral is in line with demographically similar areas.

"However, recognising that that this is an important health issue we have been working with local health care providers to ensure that we identify and signpost people who may benefit from services to help them lose weight.

"Collecting and recording BMI of people in hospital is one way in which we can do this.

"Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are, and have been, at the forefront of IT investment and development and this data reflects robust clinical coding and an effective patient administration system.

"Good levels of recording, like that achieved in our hospital, provide increased opportunity to offer people support when they want to lose weight or when it could benefit their health."