08:57pm Tuesday 14 July 2020

Review of Major Trauma Networks reveals increase in patient survival rates

Results from a national audit by the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN), part of The University of Manchester and based at Salford Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, show that 1 in 5 patients who would have died before the networks are now surviving severe injuries

Maralyn Woodford, Director of TARN and part of the Institute of Population Health at The University of Manchester, said the data collected helped hospitals to evaluate their trauma care – the treatment of serious injuries such as head injuries, chest injuries and broken limbs – and review how they rate in comparison with other Trusts.

“TARN was founded in 1989 when research showed that there were preventable trauma deaths in the UK,” she said. “It was thought then that death could have been prevented in one third of injured patients reaching hospital alive. Our data collection helps support doctors and managers to review their trauma care and make changes if required. This report suggests a 20% rise in the odds of survival for patients being treated for trauma and we hope that this continues.”

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director for NHS England said: “These figures show how getting the right patient to the right hospital at the right time can save lives and improve recovery from serious trauma. Trauma is the leading cause of death in children and adults under the age of 40, with patients often suffering complex, multiple injuries that need surgical and nursing care from multiple specialists. 

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

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.  The networks were developed by doctors, nurses and allied health professionals including paramedics and physiotherapists, to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care from the scene of the accident through to their rehabilitation at home.

Professor Chris Moran, National Clinical Director for Trauma for NHS England said: “Our patients now receive much more rapid care from specialist trauma teams who can identify life-threatening injuries much quicker, access key tests such as CT scans faster and perform life-saving operations earlier.

“Patients with complex fractures and soft tissue injuries, which often cause permanent disability and require specialist surgery are also benefiting. Before, patients often waited 7-10 days before being transferred to specialist units, now over 90% of patients are transferred to the right hospital within two days.”

As well as improving survival, a key aim of the Major Trauma Networks is to improve the quality of life in the survivors.  The networks have redesigned rehabilitation pathways to give the patients the best chance of recovery following surgery.  It is predicted that for every additional survivor, 3 further patients will make an enhanced recovery, which hopefully will allow them to return to their families and to work.

The system started in London and then went live for the whole of England in April 2012.


Notes for editors


For further information on this or the case studies below, please e-mail the NHS England media team at [email protected] or call 07768 901293

To speak to a researcher from TARN, please contact Alison Barbuti, Media Relations Officer, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences 0161 275 8383 [email protected]

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