For over a decade the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine has publicly advocated for a major reorganisation of trauma care in Ireland so as to improve the care offered to victims of trauma and ensure that outcomes in Ireland are as good as they are in developed healthcare systems around the globe. The Association published its position paper The Development of an Integrated Trauma System for Ireland in December 2014 which along with similar professional expert advice from other key stakeholders generated the momentum for the government to set up an expert group to advise on the best way for trauma care to be optimised across the country. The Steering Group published its recommendations in a landmark document A Trauma System for Ireland in February 2018 which was warmly welcomed by the Association and strongly mirrored the Association’s stance on the issue.
Unfortunately, some of the key steps to implement the report have been delayed by the government’s understandable focus on fighting the current COVID19 pandemic. The Association therefore warmly welcomes the announcement today by the Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, of the location of the Major Trauma Centre (MTC) for the Central Trauma Network i.e. the MTC based in Dublin and the locations of the two Trauma Units which along with the MTC will receive ambulance-borne victims of trauma in the Greater Dublin region. The MTC will be the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital on Dublin’s northside and the two Trauma Units will be at Tallaght University Hospital and St. Vincent’s University Hospital in the south west and south east of the capital respectively. The locations reflect the recommendations of an Independent Assessment Panel which considered the various options within the Greater Dublin region.
While much progress has been made in the implementation of a number of the recommendations in the 2018 report, this announcement represents a major step forward and will allow the reorganisation of trauma services in the Greater Dublin region where the majority of the population of Ireland resides and will also allow the development of the Central Trauma Network with the MMUH as its hub, mirroring the earlier decision to base the Southern Trauma Network around Cork University Hospital as a hub.
The Association now looks forward to the early and full implementation of the recommendations of the 2018 report so as to ensure that outcomes for trauma patients in Ireland are as good as they are in other systems where trauma care has been successfully reorganised.