Today (Monday 14 September) saw the official launch of the South Wales Trauma Network, held at the new Major Trauma Centre at the University Hospital of Wales.
Serving the population of South Wales, West Wales and South Powys, the network is made up of hospitals, emergency services and rehabilitation services across the region, working together to ensure patients with life-threatening or life-changing injuries receive the best possible treatment and care.
The Welsh Government has provided £3.7 million capital and over £13 million recurrent revenue funding to support the pre-hospital, major trauma centre, specialist services and network elements of the programme business case.
Its arrival marks a major step forward in the delivery of emergency care in Wales. Across the network more than 2,000 patients a year are expected to be treated, and up to 70 lives saved over the next five years.
Dr Dinendra Gill, Clinical Director for the South Wales Trauma Network, explains:
“Today marks a significant milestone in planning for the network, and represents the culmination of extensive work by all NHS partners over many years.
“Major trauma – which refers to multiple and serious injuries – is the leading cause of death in people under the age of 45 and a significant cause of disability or poor health. Patients with these type of injuries will have a better chance of survival if they are treated within a major trauma network.
“As well as saving lives, the network will improve patient outcomes by preventing avoidable disability, returning more patients to their families, to work and to education.
“I want to thank all those who have worked incredibly hard to open the service so that those who most need specialist care are able to benefit from it.”
Officially opening the South Wales Trauma Network, Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services – who attended the launch event virtually – said:
“I am delighted to formally open the South Wales Trauma Network which will save lives and prevent avoidable disability for people involved in serious incidents.
“While the new Major Trauma Centre at University Hospital of Wales is the setting for today’s launch event we celebrate the start of the Network which is a true collaboration of health services across the region with services in trauma units in each health board area and the major trauma desk within the Welsh Ambulance Service.
“This has been a long journey for many people and I thank all of those involved in what has been a truly collaborative effort to improve trauma services.”
The University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff – which is Wales’ only specialist neurosurgery hospital, and home of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital of Wales – becomes the region’s adult and children’s major trauma centre. As major trauma is relatively uncommon and complex to manage, services provided in the major trauma centre are highly specialised and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The major trauma centre will collaborate with and support hospitals across the network.
Establishing the network has led to enhanced roles for a number of other hospitals, including Morriston Hospital in Swansea, becoming a trauma unit with specialist services. Elsewhere, the network is supported by trauma units, rural trauma facilities and local emergency hospitals. The operational delivery network, which is hosted by Swansea Bay University Health Board, will oversee the running of the South Wales Trauma Network.
Work to establish the network has been led by the NHS Wales Health Collaborative, in collaboration with health boards, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service, Welsh Health Specialist Services Committee, Emergency Ambulance Service Committee, as well as third sector and community health councils.