IMPROVED emergency care means casualties with multiple injuries from serious road accidents or industrial injuries will get first-class treatment on their doorstep.
A change in national policy for delivering trauma services has involved setting up regional centres of excellence – trauma centres – which in this area will be based in Liverpool.
But anyone more than 40 minutes away by ambulance from a trauma centre must be taken to their nearest trauma unit so their condition can be stabilised before possible transfer to the centre.
The Countess of Chester Hospital has just been accredited as a trauma unit which is a vote of confidence in the hospital.
About 40 patients with complex and serious injuries are admitted to the Countess every year. Common examples are motorcyclists involved in road accidents.
Evidence suggests treating severely injured patients in a regional centre results in expertise being developed which improves quality of care.
Some of the key criteria for achieving trauma unit status include: a consultant being available within 30 minutes for emergency department, general surgery, orthopaedics, anaesthetics and critical care.
CT imaging should also be available within 60 minutes, and there should be evidence of continued personal development through training and education around trauma.
Debbie Bryce, the hospital’s business performance manager for urgent care, said: “Due to the trust’s location, we are in an excellent position as a trauma unit which will only improve our quality of care for trauma patients.
“The aim is not to increase or decrease the number of patients we treat but simply to improve the quality of care that is provided to patients that come on to the unit.”