Road accident, stabbing and shooting casualties receive “unacceptable” variations in care depending on the hospital they are taken to, a report revealed today.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said between 450 and 600 lives a year could be saved by improving the management of trauma cases. It said a network of centres should be set up around the country to avoid delays in treatment and focus expertise.
Care given to trauma patients, who also include victims of falls, blasts, burns and assaults, has not “significantly improved” in more than 20 years, despite a series of criticisms, the NAO said.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “Current services for people who suffer major trauma are not good enough.
“There is unacceptable variation, which means that if you are unlucky enough to have an accident at night or at the weekend, in many areas, you are likely to receive worse quality of care.”
Currently, 193 hospitals treat trauma victims in their accident and emergency departments.
But that amounts to just 0.2% of their total activity, meaning there is insufficient experience among some medics.