An audit into patients that suffered major trauma accidents over 2019 and 2020 has found that fewer than one in ten people were treated by a designated trauma team for their injuries.
The findings come as CUH is currently recruiting 70 healthcare workers to become a world class major trauma centre for the southern region.
The Major Trauma Audit Report 2019-2020, conducted by the National Office of Clinical Audit, focused on patients who suffered a major trauma injury which had the potential to cause prolonged disability or death.
It found that the overall percentage of major trauma patients received by a trauma team remains “extremely low”, at 8% in 2019 and 9% in 2020.
The figures aren’t surprising, as there is currently no hospital in Ireland which meets the requirements of a major trauma centre (MTC) designation status.
Professor Conor Deasy, Emergency Medicine Consultant at CUH/UCC and Clinical Lead for the Major Trauma Audit, said at the moment patients presenting with major trauma injuries are met with an “ad hoc” system.
“There'll be a local response within the emergency department, and then the emergency department doctors and nurses call down in house specialists as they need them. That can cause a staggered response, and you lose vital minutes as a consequence of that,” he added.
Professor Deasy said that dedicated trauma teams made up of doctors, anaesthetists, orthopaedics, surgeons, as well as nurses and radiographers, each led by a senior consultant in emergency medicine, all work together when a major trauma patient arrives into the emergency department.
As part of a significant re-configuration of the trauma system in Ireland, Cork University Hospital is designated to become one of the country’s first major trauma centres in the next seven years, and will be the central spoke in the South Trauma Network.
“We've received funding in 2022 to employ 70 healthcare workers, who will be trauma facing. So that’s the first of three stages over the next seven years, towards becoming a world class designated major trauma centre,” said Professor Deasy, who added that recruitment has already started for healthcare workers to staff CUH’s trauma teams.
Professor Deasy said he hopes that CUH becoming a major trauma centre will not only save more lives, but improve the quality of life for those who survive major trauma injuries.
“There are going to be more lives saved in the first instance, we hope, but also those people go back to living independently, go back to their jobs, and we increase the numbers that have a better quality of survival,” he said.
“It’s very complex care with multiple teams involved, and it needs a lot of co-ordination for it to be seamless - but that's what we're hoping to achieve,” he added.