Introduction In the West Midlands region of the UK, the delivery of prehospital trauma care has recently been remodelled through the introduction of a regionalised major trauma network (MTN). Helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) are integral to the network, providing means of delivering highly skilled specialist teams to scenes of trauma and rapid transfer of patients to major trauma centres. This study reviews the impact of introducing the West Midlands MTN on the operation of one its regional HEMS units.
Methods Retrospective review of the Midlands Air Ambulance clinical database for the 6 months after the launch of the West Midlands MTN. The corresponding period for the previous year was reviewed for comparison. The contribution of trauma cases to overall workload, mission outcome data and the number of interventions performed at the scene were compared.
Results The proportion of HEMS activations for trauma cases was similar in both cohorts (70.84% before MTN vs 71.57% after MTN). The proportion of mission cancellations was significantly lower after the launch of the network (23.71% vs 19.03%). Significantly more scene attendances resulted in interventions by HEMS crews after the MTN launch (44.66% vs 56.92%).
Conclusions Since the introduction of the West Midlands MTN, tasking of HEMS assets appears to be better targeted to cases involving significant injury, and a reduction in mission cancellations has been observed. There is a need for more detailed evaluation of patient outcomes to identify strategies for optimising the utilisation of HEMS assets within the regional network.
- Prehospital Care, Helicopter Retrieval
- Prehospital Care, Despatch
- Trauma, Research
- Major Trauma Management
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