Note: The printed version of this document includes the recommendations relevent to each section at the begining of each section. The electronic version here is different. Each recomendation in the Recomendation section (see below) in this site has links to the background and supporting arguments in the relevent section.
The impact of trauma, in both human and financial terms, is significant. It has been estimated that for every trauma related death in Australia, there are 47 hospital admissions, 133 emergency department visits, and 1,333 private doctor visits. These figures are staggering in themselves, however the suffering behind these statistics is even more significant.
Victoria is already a national and international leader in trauma prevention and care. The success of injury prevention campaigns in this state is testimony to the commitment and vigour of a number of agencies. The current clinical outcomes for trauma patients are comparable to, and in some aspects better than, international standards.
Despite this, a number of bodies have identified the need for system-wide changes in the management of trauma patients to further reduce the impact of trauma in this State. This is supported by research undertaken over the last five years. In 1997, the Minister for Health, the Hon Rob Knowles MP, established the Ministerial Taskforce on Trauma and Emergency Services to advise the Government on a best practice model responsive to the particular needs of critically ill trauma patients. Victorian Government support for such a system is an example of its commitment to providing specialised, efficient services and improving access to these services.
The Taskforce has been cognisant that health care providers encounter particular challenges in providing care to trauma patients in isolated rural areas. These health care providers are crucial to the outcome of patients injured in these areas and provide care under often difficult conditions. The Taskforce has sought to address these difficulties.
I have been privileged to chair this Taskforce for the Minister. The members of the Taskforce and Working Party have come from the spectrum of professional groups providing care to trauma patients, from institutions involved in education and research in this field, from other provider and consumer groups, and from the Department of Human Services. All have brought a passion for improving trauma care, substantial expertise and enormous generosity with their time.
Planning a complex, integrated trauma system necessarily involves a complex planning process. In the course of this review, there were 24 occasions when the Taskforce or Working Party met. Sixteen papers and reports assisted the Taskforce and Working Party in their deliberations. Seven subgroups provided detailed submissions in focus areas, such as role delineation, education, medical retrieval, neurosurgery, paediatrics, ambulance communications and system monitoring. Consultation with groups, such as the regional Consultative Committees on Emergency and Critical Care, also provided invaluable perspectives on important issues.
The Taskforce recommendations are made with consideration of the wider spectrum of emergency medical conditions. Developments to the system of care are intended to address the identified deficiencies in trauma management, but it is also acknowledged that some of the benefits will flow on to related emergency patient populations.
The system recommended by the Taskforce and Working Party involves a number of strategies, including:
This report provides the blueprint for building a world-class trauma system. It will provide Victorians with the best framework and measures for optimising the management of trauma. I thank the Taskforce, Working Party and others whose contributions have created this document and I commend this report to the Minister for Health, the Hon Rob Knowles MP.