(Major) Trauma Unit – Lancashire and South Cumbria Major Trauma Network

Major Trauma - Major trauma is serious or multiple injuries that could be life threatening or life changing and usually caused by accident or violence. It may affect one or more body areas and involve one or more hospital specialities. 

Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital is a (Major) Trauma Unit within the Lancashire and South Cumbria Major Trauma Network.

In 2010 the Department of Health reviewed evidence that estimated that between 450 to 600 lives could be saved every year if trauma care was better co-ordinated

Good trauma care depends upon identifying the seriousness of injury as quickly as possible, ideally at the scene of the incident, rapid access to CT scanning to enable prompt diagnosis, treatment by a multi-disciplinary team of specialists with experience and expertise in dealing with major trauma, and access to rehabilitation care to aid recovery and reduce likelihood of long term ill health or disability.

Because major trauma is relatively uncommon, and not all hospitals provide the full range of specialist services required of good trauma care, the Department of Health established regional major trauma systems across the country to better organise trauma care.

Trusts across Lancashire and South Cumbria have worked together to develop a trauma system, with Royal Preston Hospital as the region’s major trauma centre,

All adults in the region who are suspected of having major trauma will be taken from the scene of the incident by ambulance directly to the major trauma centre at Royal Preston Hospital if within 45 minutes.

Patients who are outside of 45 minutes from Royal Preston Hospital or who need to be stabilised before transfer will be taken to the Trauma Unit for initial treatment.

Children with suspected major trauma will be taken to Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital using the North West Major Trauma System.

Because major trauma only affects around 250 people a year in the region this new way of working means that the major trauma centre at Royal Preston Hospital is likely to see around three additional patients a week, and there will be minimal impact on activity in trauma units.

Services Provided: 

Immediate Major Trauma Care and stabilisation before transfer to the Major Trauma Centre for adults and children with potentially life threatening or life changing injuries.
Rehabilitation of patients after major trauma to enable them to recover.

The Trauma Unit will continue to provide high quality care for most patients who have been injured.

Places where services are delivered:

Major Trauma Care involves many specialties in many different locations from the Emergency Department right through to community based rehabilitation. The (major) Trauma Unit provides a co ordinated approach to quality care for these patients. 

Key Staff :

Clinical Director – Dr P Dean
Clinical Lead, Anaesthetics – Dr V Sharma
Clinical Lead, Emergency Department – Dr C Thomson
Clinical Lead, General Surgery – Mr C Harris
Clinical Lead, Orthopaedics – Mr S Aithal
Clinical Lead, Radiology – Dr S Mellor
Clinical Lead, TARN – Mrs G Robertson
Lead Allied Health Care Professionals – G Williams / M Frankland
Matron – B Kenealy – Jones
Lead Nurse Emergency Department – N Bradley
Manager – 
Governance Facilitator – H Bowker
Administration – L Brokenbrow


What is trauma?

Major trauma is serious or multiple injuries that could result in death or significant disability, and is usually caused by accident or violence.  

How many trauma patients are there each year?

Around 250 major trauma patients are treated in hospitals in Lancashire and South Cumbria every year.
How did we provide treatment to trauma patients before now?
Historically, the initial treatment of major trauma has been provided by hospital emergency departments, which undertook the initial assessment, arranged diagnostics and involved other specialists as appropriate.

Why do we need a trauma centre?

Trusts across Lancashire and South Cumbria have been working together to formalise arrangements for a trauma network are made up of one designated major trauma centre and a number of trauma units.

A major trauma centre is the most effective way to provide care to major trauma patients because major trauma is most effectively treated by specialists who have regular experience of dealing with significant and multiple injuries, and because major trauma is relatively rare.  

Major trauma patients who receive the right treatment in the critical period following injury are more likely to survive, and experience better overall health outcomes.

Surely the quicker I get to my local hospital the better my outcomes?

Time is important in treating trauma patients, however the evidence shows that prompt treatment by a specialist trauma team experienced in dealing with such injury is critical.  By involving the range of specialists in the immediate treatment of a trauma patient decisions can be made quickly and the right services accessed more quickly.

Why has Lancashire Teaching Hospitals been chosen as the trauma centre?

Royal Preston Hospital has been identified as the major trauma centre because it already provides the services necessary of good trauma care other than cardiothoracic which will be delivered in partnership with Blackpool Victoria, and it is well placed geographically with good motorway access.  Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also provides the region’s specialist mobility and rehabilitation service which supports many patients throughout their recovery after trauma.    

What is the difference between a major trauma centre and a trauma unit?

Trauma units will continue to provide care for the vast majority of patients who have sustained injuries.  Trauma Units have to meet agreed standards, which will also improve care for patients who have sustained non life threatening or non severe life changing injuries. 

Major Trauma Centres will only treat those patients who have potentially life threatening or severe life changing injuries.
Patients who are suspected of having a major trauma will be taken directly to the major trauma centre if within 45 minutes travel time other than if they need to be stabilised at their local trauma unit in the first instance.

Who works in a major trauma centre?

The multi-disciplinary trauma team comprises specialists from a range of clinical services including emergency, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, anaesthetics, general surgery and radiology departments.  Other specialists become involved as necessary, including paediatrics, cardiothoracic and plastics.  The rehabilitation service will have early involvement in the care of trauma patients to provide the best possible chance of resuming life as normal after recovery.