Major trauma centres improve patient survival rate by one fifth

Trauma Audit and Research Network report says 1,600 lives have been saved since 2012

Trauma Audit and Research Network report says 1,600 lives have been saved since 2012

Major Trauma
Picture: Alamy

A senior trauma nurse has said the success of the country’s major trauma centres (MTCs) has been driven by staff education.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust deputy director of major trauma Robert Crouch said educating clinicians on how different MTC teams work is ‘integral’ to positive outcomes for patients.

A report published this week shows that, in the six years since the NHS created 27 MTCs in England, the lives of an additional 1,600 patients have been saved.

Since 2012, people with traumatic injuries have been sent directly to their nearest designated MTC, bypassing smaller, local hospitals that offer less specialist care.

Professor Crouch’s trust is part of the Wessex Trauma Network, comprising one MTC, six trauma units, and two ambulance trusts.

He is also a consultant nurse with the National Major Trauma Nursing Group, formed in 2015. This has 150 member organisations, and has created national standards and competencies for all trauma nurses to meet.

Best practice

Professor Crouch said: ‘We have focused on education among our clinical teams and understanding how teams, including pre-hospital and hospital-based, work best together.

RobertCrouch. Picture: David Gee

‘Best practice has been shared across the country and has been integral in why these centres have been saving patients’ lives.’

Looking to the future, professor Crouch supports the use of education to prevent traumatic events.

He added: ‘We need to target the right groups for education, particularly young people. [This could mean] stressing the importance of wearing a seat belt to prevent road accident-related trauma.

'This public education should be multi-agency because we have seen that getting all interested parties together is what works best in raising awareness.

‘It could involve patients and carers who have been directly involved in incidents.’

Chances of survival

The independent report was compiled by the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN), which is based at the University of Manchester, and was supported by experts at the Universities of Leicester and Sheffield.

TARN analysed records of 110,000 patients admitted to 35 hospitals between 2008-17.

The results, published in the latest issue of The Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine journal, shows an increase in the chances of survival after severe injury of nearly one fifth since 2012.

The authors also found patients who have received critical care from an MTC spend fewer days in hospital and have improved quality of life.

According to NHS England data, there are about 20,000 trauma cases in England every year.

The data also indicates that trauma is the most common cause of death in children and adults under the age of 40, and is the fifth most common cause of death in the elderly.

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