Introduction The advent of the new Trauma Network system will drive significant changes in the transport of trauma patients. We aimed to find out what the impact of the new trauma network would be on the two prospective trauma centres in the Northern region, in terms of increased workload. This could allow the centres to gain additional resources to provide care for these patients.
Methods We conducted a retrospective audit of all trauma patients conveyed by North East Ambulance service during the month of October 2009. These patients were then assessed by the London Ambulance Service Trauma Divert Criteria. Any patients who would have bypassed their local hospital, and been taken to the nearest trauma centre were identified. Also identified were any patients at risk of airway compromise, who would have been transported to the nearest ED for stabilisation and secondary transfer. Patients transported by air ambulance were excluded, as they are already taken to the Trauma Centres.
Results 3500 patients were identified during the initial search. Of these, 70 met the criteria for bypass, although 16 were transported to trauma centres as the nearest hospitals. 54 were transported to their nearest hospital, although under the criteria used, would have been taken to a trauma centre. 8 met the criteria for transfer to the nearest hospital, for airway protection. Based on geography of receiving hospital, we estimate that an additional 17 patients would have gone to James Cook University Hospital, and 29 to Newcastle General Hospital.
Conclusion We conclude that introduction of the bypass guidelines would lead to an additional 46 patients being taken to a trauma centre in that month. This suggests that specific arrangements may need to be made to deal with the extra workload, and further investment may be required.
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