NSW ahead of curve on trauma management

A landmark agreement between the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) Institute of Trauma and Injury Management and the NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), will help advance the trauma care patients receive, and provide an opportunity for NSW to become a national leader in the management of trauma care.

Under the agreement, all trauma centres managing injured patients in NSW will participate in the Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) trauma verification process over the next three years.

The benchmarking process is the gold standard in trauma care and assists hospitals to analyse their systems of care for the trauma patient. It is based on the principle that all injured patients achieve the best outcome when seen by the right person, at the right place, in the right time.

Chair of the RACS Trauma Committee, Dr John Crozier, said that he was delighted by the agreement, particularly for regional communities.

“Last year 39 per cent of all major trauma incidents occurred in a rural area. By ensuring that the 17 trauma hospitals from Tweed Heads to Wagga Wagga are verified, we will help to ensure that wherever patients are injured in NSW, they are never too far from receiving the best possible care,” Dr Crozier said.

“The ANZ Trauma Verification Program is an established and internationally recognised trauma service capability assessment program which covers all phases of acute care, from pre-hospital to rehabilitation. It is a multidisciplinary program with the support of emergency medicine physicians, intensivists, anaesthetists, senior nurses and allied health professionals.”

The agreement positions NSW as the first Australian jurisdiction where each of its trauma centres, including all regional services, will undergo the extensive trauma verification process.

Clinical Director of the ACI Institute of Trauma and Injury Management, Associate Professor Michael Dinh, said that the agreement is an excellent example of collaboration between the NSW local health districts, Ministry of Health and non-government organisations to deliver world-class, interconnected and patient-centred healthcare.

“Severe injury is a major cause of death and disability in those younger than 40 years of age. To ensure patients anywhere in NSW get the best possible care, the ACI will work with RACS and the ANZ Trauma Verification Program to improve care coordination and outcomes for severely injured patients in NSW,” Associate Professor Dinh said.

Dr Crozier said he hopes that the NSW example will highlight the value of the program and lead to demonstrations of support by other jurisdictions around Australia.

“It is estimated that road trauma alone costs the Australian economy over $30 billion every year,” Dr Crozier said.

“Improvements in trauma care delivery following trauma verification have resulted in reduced hospital mortality, length of stay and costs.

“Hospital and rehabilitation expenses can exceed millions of dollars for a single injured patient who survives. The NSW Government’s investment in this trauma verification process will potentially be recouped by the improved care and outcome of a single injured patient.

“This is surely an aim to be replicated in all other jurisdictions of Australia,” he said.

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