HSE welcomes today’s announcement by Government on Ireland’s national trauma system

HSE Press Release: Tuesday 27th April 2021

The HSE welcomes today’s announcement by Government on Ireland’s national trauma system. This decision represents a major step and the first phase in developing the acute hospital trauma services set out in the National Trauma Strategy, A Trauma System for Ireland.

Ireland’s new trauma system will consist of two regional trauma networks each with a Major Trauma Centre namely the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin and Cork University Hospital. These centres will provide the highest level of specialist trauma care to the most severely injured patients in the one hospital.

International studies have consistently shown that concentrating the care of severely injured patients in dedicated Major Trauma Centres is associated with improved access to care, reduced length of stay and demonstrably better outcomes for patients.

At present, no single Dublin hospital has all the acute specialties required in a Major Trauma Centre with several key trauma specialties spread across Dublin in different hospitals. For example, from 2014-2019, 31% of adult trauma patients were transferred at least once to another hospital as the receiving hospital could not provide the totality of care required.

Today the Government also announced St. Vincent’s University Hospital and Tallaght University Hospital as the Trauma Units for the greater Dublin area. These Trauma Units will deliver more general trauma care to the majority of patients who do not need the specialist expertise of a Major Trauma Centre. More Trauma Units across the country will be designated as the two regional trauma networks are developed.

Ciarán Devane, Chair, HSE Board said: “Today’s decision gives the HSE the means to deliver demonstrable improvements to the performance and delivery of trauma services in Ireland. The designation of the Major Trauma Centre and Trauma Units in Dublin represents a significant milestone in the progression of the National Trauma Strategy, an important strategic reform under Sláintecare. The investment for trauma services included in our National Service Plan for 2021 will allow us to deliver on the decision made by Government today.”

Paul Reid, Chief Executive Officer, HSE said:

“The HSE welcomes the Government’s decision to approve the recommendation of the HSE Board and designate the Major Trauma Centre and Trauma Units in Dublin. This decision will allow the HSE to deliver on our commitments in this year’s National Service Plan and commence the phased development of major trauma services at the Mater Hospital. This represents a major step in the implementation of the National Trauma Strategy and will allow us to deliver better trauma services to patients. The HSE will work to fully implement all recommendations of the Strategy over the coming years.”

Today’s announcement will see funding of €5.7m in annual staff costs allocated to the Mater Hospital over the coming months to establish the hospital as a Major Trauma Centre. This funding, included in the National Service Plan, represents the first phase of investment at the Mater Hospital and will enhance services in such areas as the Emergency Department, Critical Care and Interventional Radiology. The next step in implementing the National Trauma Strategy includes investment at the second Major Trauma Centre, Cork University Hospital.”

Mr Keith Synnott, National Clinical Lead for Trauma Services said: “I look forward to working with hospitals, the National Ambulance Service, staff, patients and other key stakeholders in creating an inclusive trauma system for Ireland. When fully implemented, patients, regardless of their location or severity of injury will receive the highest possible standard of care in the most appropriate healthcare facility. Work is already underway to implement the recommendations of the National Trauma Strategy, which is expected to take five to seven years.”

Enhancements in pre-hospital care and rehabilitation, key elements in the care of trauma patients, will be essential to the successful implementation of the trauma system. The National Ambulance Service has received resources in preparation for the introduction of the trauma system. The investment in dedicated rehabilitation facilities at the two Major Trauma Centres will enhance the delivery of specialist rehabilitation to severely injured trauma patients and the HSE will work with the National Rehabilitation Hospital and other rehabilitation services to progress the rehabilitation-specific recommendations of the National Trauma Strategy.

Naomi Fitzgibbon Patients Advocate Spinal Injuries Ireland said: “As a patient representative of Spinal injuries Ireland I welcome this announcement of the Major Trauma Centre and two Trauma Units. It is a very important step in implementing the Major Trauma Strategy for Ireland.  Receiving the right care, at the right time, in the right place, is paramount to reducing the odds of severe disability and death caused by major trauma incidents. Investment in  rehabilitation and follow on care in the community must also be implemented to ensure those living with disability, as results of a major trauma, can live independent lives regardless of where they live.”

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE said: “A plan and roadmap to implement the recommendations of the National Trauma Strategy has been developed by the HSE. As the Major Trauma Centre develops at the Mater Hospital over the coming years, plans for the next step includes investment at the second Major Trauma Centre, Cork University Hospital.

There is strong evidence from other countries of improvements in the outcomes for patients following the organisation of trauma services into an inclusive trauma system. The HSE is committed to improving outcomes for trauma patients in Ireland and will work with patients, clinicians, hospitals management, the National Ambulance Service and other key stakeholders across the country in developing the two regional trauma networks.”

Last updated on: 27 / 04 / 2021