The HSE today made progress towards the introduction of a trauma system for Ireland

The HSE is seeking feedback on the proposed Service Specifications for Major Trauma Centres and Trauma Units, and on the process to designate the Central Trauma Network Major Trauma Centre and Dublin Trauma Unit(s).

The implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Trauma Steering Group, A Trauma System for Ireland, represents an important change in the provision of health services in Ireland and is a key action in the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy. On the publication of the report in February 2018, the Minister for Health acknowledged that the implementation of its recommendations “will enhance the chance of survival and lead to better patient outcomes”.

The HSE recognises that implementing changes of this nature can present significant challenges. In delivering this change, the HSE is seeking the views of the general public and key stakeholders in the Health Sector to ensure a broad range of feedback on the items under consultation. They are: the proposed service specifications, and; the process to designate the Central Trauma Network Major Trauma Centre and Dublin Trauma Unit(s). The service specifications outline in detail what trauma-related services will be delivered in Major Trauma Centres and Trauma Units.

Trauma is a term which refers to physical injuries of sudden onset and severity which require immediate medical attention. Major trauma involves injuries which have the potential to cause prolonged disability or death and is the leading cause of death among children and young adults, and is increasingly a cause of death among older adults1. Examples of major trauma include falls, road traffic collisions, and injuries to the head and spine. The burden of trauma on patients, their families, the health service and society in general, is significant.

Trauma services in Ireland have developed in an ad hoc manner. As a result major trauma patients are not always brought to the most appropriate facility. For example, in 2014 and 2015, 30% of major trauma patients had to be transferred to another hospital for urgent or ongoing care as the receiving hospital could not provide the optimal care required1.

The optimal care of patients with traumatic injuries requires a coordinated, integrated and standardised system of care. Similar jurisdictions to Ireland have introduced inclusive trauma systems, where a network of facilities and services co-ordinate in the care of injured patients along standardised pathways. Inclusive trauma systems have been shown to significantly reduce the number of deaths and disabilities caused by major trauma1.

Feedback on the items under consultation can be provided through an online survey on the HSE website here. This consultation will run for eight weeks and will close at 5 p.m. on the 14th February 2019.

[1] Please see the report of the Trauma Steering Group for detailed references.
Last updated on: 21 / 12 / 2018