The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has said that a new trauma system for Ireland will lead to better outcomes for patients.
He said it will make sure they get to the right place, for the right care, first time.
The Minister today published the report of the Trauma Steering Group, “A Trauma System for Ireland”, following Government approval.
Minister Harris said:
“The Trauma Steering Group was established by Government to bring about better outcomes for the 1,600 patients who suffer a major trauma in Ireland every year.
“The aim is to reduce death and disability, and ensure high quality trauma services are available to everyone in the country, whether they live in a city or in rural Ireland.
“The Steering Group was led by clinicians, with a key input from patients, and its recommendations are evidence based. This is about providing the right care to patients and increasing services and expertise.”
The report recommends the establishment of an inclusive trauma system which will include two regional trauma networks, one central and one south.
There will be one designated major trauma centre in each of these networks, which should treat a minimum number of major trauma patients in order to maintain a critical mass of specialist expertise.
The networks will also include a number of other trauma units and, in addition, a trauma unit with specialist services, which will also deal with trauma cases.
At the moment a trauma system in Ireland does not exist. There are Emergency Departments that are equipped to a greater or lesser extent to deal with trauma, and pre-hospital emergency care services that bring people to those hospitals, without having adequate clear protocols around trauma.
This means that currently, patients may present to any acute hospital, regardless of how much expertise and experience in trauma exists there.
“The vision for a national trauma system set out in this major report is to prevent unnecessary deaths, to reduce disabilities and to significantly improve the patient’s chances of attaining the fullest possible recovery,” said Minister Harris.
“Evidence-based and informed by population needs, it addresses the entire care pathway from prevention and pre-hospital emergency care through to rehabilitation.
“There is a relatively low incidence of major trauma in Ireland but the cost to individuals and their families can be very high. The trauma system for Ireland will enhance the chance of survival and lead to better patient outcomes.”
The Minister also noted the important role of the major trauma audit.
Patients who have used trauma services and clinicians were at the heart of the development of the report.
The full report can be read using this link.