Department of Health defends decision to centralise trauma care

Minister’s plan sets to end trauma care in three Dublin hospitals

The report recommends establishing two Major Trauma Centres - one at Cork University Hospital and another in Dublin - which will be supported by a network of local trauma units.

The report recommends establishing two Major Trauma Centres - one at Cork University Hospital and another in Dublin - which will be supported by a network of local trauma units.

 

The Department of Health has said its decision to centralise trauma care is about ensuring patients get “the right care in the right place at the right time”.

A statement from the department on Monday said Minister for Health Simon Harris was planning to bring his report on the centralisation of trauma care before Cabinet before the end of 2017.

Under the new strategy, three Dublin hospitals will stop trauma care while hospitals outside the capital will also stop taking trauma patients.

The report recommends establishing two Major Trauma Centres - one at Cork University Hospital and another in Dublin - which will be supported by a network of local trauma units. These local units would care for patients with less serious injuries like factures and minor head injuries.

If the plan goes ahead, patients who have been in car crashes or have had serious falls with head injuries, broken limbs or major wounds would no longer be treated at the Mater Hospital, Connolly Hospital, St Vincent’s, St James’, Beaumont and Tallaght, hospitals which currently provide trauma services in Dublin.

The Department of Health said the plan to reduce the number of hospitals providing trauma care was about “delivering best outcomes for the small number of patients each year who suffer major trauma, that is, injuries which have the potential to cause prolonged disability or death, and ensuring they get the right care in the right place at the right time.”

It added that patients who had used trauma services and clinicians were “at the heart of the development of the plan”.

The report references eight hospitals outside cities that could be used as trauma units including Letterkenny, Sligo, Mayo, Drogheda, Tullamore, Galway, Limerick and Kerry, according toa report in the Sunday Business Post.

It is feared that he proposal to close units in certain hospitals could lead to a backlash from local communities which will lose access to nearby trauma care.