Listening to people’s views to improve major trauma care


Over the past few years there have been a number of studies highlighting the shortcomings of major trauma care in the NHS. They have shown that care is unsatisfactory, with high mortality compared to international levels. Internationally, effective trauma care tends to happen in trauma centres where expertise can be built up so that patient care improves. The UK responded by proposing regionalised trauma care. But until now this has not been attempted as there can be misconceptions that this could mean taking trauma care away from emergency departments. The Department for Health approached OPM to help the NHS clinical advisory groups, who were advising on establishing regional trauma networks, to discuss their emerging thinking with a wider group of stakeholders, including the public.

What we did

To help the clinical advisory groups we carried out a series of in-depth interviews with patients and other stakeholders; developed a suite of online engagement activities, including a website and social media; and designed and hosted a Major Trauma Summit for the clinical working groups and stakeholders.

The online Major Trauma Improvement Forum (MTIF) gave stakeholders an opportunity to help improve major trauma care by sharing their views. Over two months the engagement activities used to support the forum achieved significant success in scope and scale, receiving 1601 unique visitors and 300 registered users. The MTIF had particular success in engaging frontline staff. The forum achieved a third place Google ranking.

Those who attended the Major Trauma Summit included people from national organisations such as royal colleges, NHS organisations, charities and patient organisations, as well as people with direct experience with trauma (patients and carers). The summit was structured so that all participants could contribute their views and participants were encouraged to probe, challenge and exchange ideas. The final report involved editing the recommendations from the five clinical working groups into a comprehensive report.

Social impact

Following the publication of the clinical working groups’ recommendations on designing regional trauma networks, the NHS has pressed on with implementing the major trauma regional networks using the recommendations from the clinical working groups.

The DH has now introduced requirements for the NHS to develop regional trauma networks with a major trauma centre at their heart. There is an expectation that all regions will reconfigure their trauma service, into regional trauma network configurations in 2011/12. They are looking for the best fit of local service configurations for geography and patient expectations and needs.