Government approves designation of Mater Hospital as Major Trauma Centre for the Central Trauma Network and St Vincent’s University Hospital and Tallaght University Hospital as Trauma Unit(s) for Dublin

The Government today 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.

The decision, announced by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, is a crucial step in the development of a national trauma system for Ireland. The Major Trauma Centre will provide all major specialist services relevant to the care of major trauma, leading to better outcomes for severely injured patients. The Trauma Units will deliver trauma care for less complex cases or patients with injuries that are considered time critical and where direct transfer to the Major Trauma Centre is not possible within the necessary timeframe.

Minister Donnelly said 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.

The National Trauma Strategy recommends the introduction of an inclusive trauma system for Ireland with one Major Trauma Centre based in Dublin servicing the Central Trauma Network and another based in Cork University Hospital servicing the South Trauma Network. It further recommends that each of these Major Trauma Centres will be linked to several Trauma Units throughout the country and that Dublin should have a maximum of two Trauma Units, in addition to the Major Trauma Centre.

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. In treating trauma of a lesser severity, the two Trauma Units in Dublin will be essential to ensuring that the Major Trauma Centre is capable of dealing with major trauma when it arrives.”

Mr Ciarán Devane, Chair of the HSE Board said, “The decision announced by Government today progresses the National Trauma Strategy, an important strategic reform under Sláintecare. Commencing the phased development of the Major Trauma Centre in Dublin was also a defined target in our National Service Plan and will lead to improvements in outcomes for trauma patients going forward.  The investment for trauma services included in that plan, coupled with today’s decision, gives the HSE the means to strengthen the services provided to trauma patients in Ireland.”

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