CORK University Hospital (CUH) is set to become a major trauma centre under the national trauma strategy announced by the Government yesterday.
CUH will provide the highest level of specialist trauma care to the most severely injured patients in which Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said is a crucial step in the development of a national trauma system for Ireland.
The Government also approved the designation of the Mater Hospital as the major trauma centre for the central trauma network and St Vincent’s University Hospital and Tallaght University Hospital as the trauma units for Dublin.
Mr Donnelly said that major trauma “involves complex injuries that have the potential to be life-changing or life-ending”.
“On average, around 1,600 patients in Ireland suffer major trauma injuries each year.
“Studies have consistently shown that severely injured patients are 15-20% less likely to die if admitted to a major trauma centre than if admitted to other hospitals.
“Concentrating major trauma cases in high volume centres provides the necessary critical mass, clinical throughput, specialised infrastructure and specialist skills under one roof, leading to better outcomes for patients with major trauma,” he said.
The Government accepted the recommendation of the HSE Board on the locations following the report of an independent assessment panel comprised of local and international experts.
The minister said that seriously injured trauma patients will now be treated by the right clinicians, in the right hospitals, as quickly as possible, and will receive much more rapid care from specialist trauma teams who can identify life-threatening injuries much quicker and perform life-saving operations earlier.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that the Government’s decision on Ireland’s national trauma system will allow the HSE to deliver on its commitments in this year’s National Service Plan and commence the phased development of major trauma services at the Mater Hospital.
“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,” he said.