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England trauma services 'not good enough'

5th February 2010

A new report has found the death rate in England for major trauma patients is 20% higher than in the United States.

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The National Audit Office says that hundreds of people who suffer serious injuries are dying due to poor care and that services had barely improved over the past 20 years despite frequent calls for reforms.

With 20,000 major trauma case every year in England of patients suffering serious road crash injuries, falls or burns, it is the biggest cause of death in people under the age of 40.

The NAO said deficiencies in care had been identified since 1988 but with little improvement since, there is growing evidence that trauma cases are not being handled effectively.

Survival rates vary from one hospital to another but the evidence points to 450-600 lives being saved annually if trauma cases were better handled.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said current services for people who suffer major trauma are not good enough and there was unacceptable variation.

Vice president of the College of Emergency Medicine Don MacKechnie said: "Currently only a minority of emergency departments have adequate consultant numbers to achieve a consultant presence beyond much more than 'normal office hours'.

"This report provides further evidence of why such investment is so imperative."

Health Minister Mike O'Brien said regional trauma networks were being introduced with the aim of delivering patients safely and rapidly to a specialist hospital where teams of experts, including trauma, orthopaedic and neuro-surgeons are on hand round the clock.

 

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