New Regional Trauma System at Waikato Hospital

( Health Minister Tony Ryall today launched New Zealand’s first regional trauma system at Waikato Hospital which is expected to save up to 21 lives across the Midland region every year.

“Trauma injuries are the leading cause of death in the first 50 years of life,” said Mr Ryall “and trauma patients with multiple injuries are a very vulnerable group with complex needs.”

The new Midland Regional Trauma System is a clinical programme that links multiple services across the region with a common goal: to provide the best care leading to the best outcomes for trauma patients and their families.

Dedicated trauma teams are being established in all Midland DHBs -Tairawhiti, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and Taranaki, following a Waikato initiative.

“I am advised Waikato hospital has already been operating under this system for several years, and this has saved approximately 14 lives per year,” Mr Ryall said.

“Using the trauma system approach, Waikato has halved the mortality (or death) rate of its severe trauma patients over the past five years: from 15% to 7%. The mortality rate for all trauma is now 0.9%.”

A trauma system sees clinicians better coordinating care and treatment for patients with serious and severe injuries from say, vehicle accidents.

“This is an example of the Government’s priorities of regional collaboration and clinical leadership at their best. That is the way we can future proof vulnerable services and provide certainty for New Zealanders.

Mr Ryall says it is also hoped the system will provide a potential template for further regional systems, and for a new national approach to trauma care.

Media Release 16 March 2010 from Hon Tony Ryall, Minister of Health.
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