Tuesday 1st July 2014 – 1.25pm – Murray MacGregor.
Literally dozens of lives have been saved across the West Midlands through better treatment of patients who have suffered traumatic injuries. What’s more, the West Midlands is one of the most innovative areas in the country.
New figures from an independent audit of trauma care show that across England, about 600 more patients have survived from their major trauma injuries since changes to services mas in April 2012.
Major traumas are the biggest cause of death in children and adults under the age of 40. In all, some 37,000 are seriously injured in England annually.
The independent audit produced by the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN), shows that patients in England have a 30% improved chance of surviving severe injuries after the introduction of Regional Trauma Networks across England in April 2012.
Trauma Lead for West Midlands Ambulance Service, Shane Roberts, said: “The reality is that many more people are surviving serious injuries. This starts with the ambulance staff at scene identifying the trauma injuries immediately; stabilising the patient’s condition; and then transporting them straight to one of the major trauma centres. There, the specialist trauma teams can start treating their life-threatening problems more quickly.
“The aim of the Network is to ensure that patients get the best possible care from the scene of their injury right through to their rehabilitation at home and eventual discharge.
“Every day our staff make use of the trauma network to ensure patients get the best possible treatment. What is so satisfying is that we now see patients coming back to meet our staff who only five years ago would simply not have survived.”
The West Midlands has one of the most advanced networks in the country. It includes provision of the MERIT team which is made up of a dedicated trauma doctor and critical care paramedic, who are available 24 hours a day either flying on the Midlands Air Ambulance based at Cosford or on a dedicated specialist road vehicle during the hours of darkness.
In addition, all ambulance staff have received additional trauma training and more specialist equipment to deal with serious injuries.
Backing them up is a 24 hours a day regional trauma desk with dedicated specialist paramedics who can provide help and advice to crews on scene or even set up a conference call with a trauma consultant at one of the major trauma centres (MTC) in the region.
There are three adult MTCs in the West Midlands at University Hospital North Staffordshire, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire. In addition, there is a paediatric trauma centre at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Professor Chris Moran, National Clinical Director for Trauma for NHS England, said: “People are rightly quick to point out where the NHS falls down, but this report shows our NHS at its best.
“By any international standard, these figures speak for themselves – we are saving more lives than ever before.
“One thing that has surprised us is that major trauma doesn’t just affect young men on motorbikes. The NHS is now successfully treating large numbers of patients who have retired but remain fit and active and suffer injuries similar to young people.”