‘Fan­tas­tic suc­cess’ of trauma cen­tres as sur­vival rate jumps

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Laura Don­nelly HEALTH EDITOR

A NA­TIONAL net­work of trauma cen­tres con­tro­ver­sially set up six years ago across Eng­land has saved more than 1,600 lives, re­search shows.

The sys­tem of by­pass­ing lo­cal hos­pi­tal A&E units for those with se­ri­ous injuries, even if that means am­bu­lances trav­el­ling fur­ther, has in­creased the chance of sur­vival by nearly a fifth, an in­de­pen­dent re­port re­vealed.

The 27 des­ig­nated major trauma cen­tres have been op­er­at­ing since April 2012, treat­ing vic­tims of knife, gun and acid at­tack crimes.

The re­port, which fea­tures in the lat­est is­sue of Eclin­i­calmedicine, found pa­tients also spent fewer days in hos­pi­tal and had im­proved qual­ity of life af­ter re­ceiv­ing crit­i­cal care.

The analysis of more than 110,000 pa­tients ad­mit­ted be­tween 2008 and 2017 shows an in­crease of nearly a fifth in the odds of sur­vival from se­vere in­jury in the five years from 2012. Re­searchers cal­cu­lated there were 595 ad­di­tional sur­vivors in 2017 – five years af­ter the new sys­tem started – in line with fore­casts that it would ul­ti­mately save an ex­tra 450-600 pa­tients a year.

The re­port was com­piled by the Trauma Au­dit and Re­search Net­work based at the Univer­sity of Manch­ester and sup­ported by ex­perts at Le­ices­ter and Sh­effield uni­ver­si­ties.

Prof Chris Moran, NHS Eng­land’s na­tional clin­i­cal di­rec­tor for trauma care, said: “This study shows that changes to trauma care, de­signed by clin­i­cians, are sav­ing hun­dreds of lives ev­ery year.

“Pa­tients suf­fer­ing se­vere in­jury need to get to the right spe­cial­ist cen­tre staffed by ex­perts, not sim­ply the near­est hos­pi­tal.

“Thanks to the skills of NHS staff, we are con­fi­dent that we will con­tinue to see fur­ther in­creases in sur­vival rates for this group of pa­tients.”

Ti­mothy Coats, pro­fes­sor of emer­gency medicine at the Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter and con­sul­tant in emer­gency medicine at Le­ices­ter’s hos­pi­tals, de­scribed the new sys­tem as a “fan­tas­tic achieve­ment”.

He said: “These find­ings demon­strate and sup­port the im­por­tance of major trauma net­works to ur­gent care with fig­ures show­ing there were 90 more sur­vivors in 2013 ris­ing to an ad­di­tional 595 in 2017.

“Over the course of the five years, 1,656 peo­ple have sur­vived major trauma injuries where be­fore they would prob­a­bly have died.”

Trauma is the most com­mon cause of death in those un­der the age of 40 in Eng­land, with sur­vivors of­ten suf­fer­ing long-term dis­abil­ity.

The Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice es­ti­mates there are 20,000 major trauma cases a year, with 5,400 deaths.

Prof Keith Wil­lett, NHS Eng­land’s med­i­cal di­rec­tor for acute care, who led the changes in 2012 and now leads a wider re­view of ur­gent and emer­gency care, sug­gested other spe­cial­ist ar­eas may ben­e­fit from some cen­tral­i­sa­tion.

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