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More patients surviving severe trauma

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An increasing number of patients are now surviving severe trauma, thanks in part to the introduction of major trauma networks three years ago.

Results from the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) national audit show that 20% of patients who would have died before the networks were implemented in 2010 are pulling through after experiencing bad injuries.

NHS England welcomed the findings, with medical director Sir Bruce Keogh claiming that they demonstrate how getting the right patient to the right hospital at the right time can save lives and improve recovery from serious trauma.

“The figures remind us that some patients are best treated in a specialist centre that isn’t always closest to their home,” he said.

“Like stroke and cardiac services, we know that whilst patients may spend longer in an ambulance the expert care provided at major trauma centres saves lives and improves outcomes for patients.”

Trauma is currently the leading cause of death in children and adults under the age of 40, with patients often suffering multiple injuries that require attention from a number of specialists.

The major trauma networks were set up to address this problem, improving survival rates and improving the quality of life for survivors.

Regional trauma networks were first introduced in 2012 to enable the rapid and safe transfer of patients to the 22 designated major trauma centres throughout the country, as few district hospitals in England have the capacity to provide comprehensive care for these patients.

Doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, including paramedics and physiotherapists, developed the networks to ensure that patients receive the best possible care from the scene of the accident through to their rehabilitation at home.

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