Improving trauma care in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon will become the first serving Scottish First Minister to write a column.
Nicola Sturgeon will become the first serving Scottish First Minister to write a column.

The next steps in the delivery of a new network of trauma services across Scotland have been outlined by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Launching plans for the Scottish Trauma Network, the First Minister said an additional £5 million would be allocated in 2017, to accelerate progress on the development of the new network.

It will be based around four major trauma centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh – with a view to benefiting around 6,000 of Scotland’s seriously injured patients each year.

The new centres will host dedicated trauma services, including rehabilitation support, to help patients with significant injuries recover more quickly. The Scottish Ambulance Service and existing trauma services across Scotland will also have a vital role in delivering enhanced trauma care. All these services will together, create the Scottish Trauma Network.

Meeting clinical staff from Ninewells Hospital who have been involved in the development of the new trauma network, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s NHS already provides a fantastic service to the thousands of patients who experience a serious or major injury every year.

“But we want to go further. The Scottish Trauma Network will connect and co-ordinate clinical teams across the country - giving patients, particularly those with major trauma, access to better care and rehabilitation support and ensure they get taken to the right place as quickly as possible.

“One of our other key areas of focus is pre-hospital care, ensuring our emergency services can get to any trauma patient quickly and have more advanced skills, training and support to better help patients at the scene and on their way to the most appropriate hospital.

“It is estimated that this approach could save up to 40 more lives a year, and it is a model of care which is very much in line with the aims and ambitions of our delivery plan for health and social care - published at the end of 2016.

“But we need to recognise that it is extremely important that we get the model right. Given the scale and complexity of the changes required to deliver the network, we should need to recognise it will take at least three years to fully implement it.

“We are allocating an extra £5 million in 2017-18 to begin to accelerate these improvements, and we will be putting further, significant investment in as we continue to build and fully establish the network over the next few years.”

Chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood said: “Each year in Scotland, around 5,000 people are seriously injured, with around 1,000 cases being defined as ‘major trauma’.

“For each trauma fatality, there are two survivors with serious or permanent disability that will have significant impact on quality of life. These severely injured patients require highly specialised care, extended hospital stays and extensive rehabilitation.

“Today marks an important day in changing trauma care in Scotland for the better. This report details how we will develop a unique network model of trauma care; one that will deliver improved outcomes for injured patients.

“I would like to thank all of my colleagues from NHS Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service and other organisations who have helped produce this unique model of trauma care for Scotland.”