- Already the commonest cause of loss of life under the age of 40 the burden of trauma is set to increase in the next 20 years.
- Taking a global view of 'life years lost' through premature death and disability, injury will be in 2nd place in 2020.
A lot of the tragedies represented in these staggering statistics are preventable but in the UK, as elsewhere, there is also unnecessary mortality directly due to inadequacies in the organisation and delivery of care. In the 1980s, research in North America identified the causes of these failures and in 1988 a working party chaired by Professor Sir Miles Irving at the Royal College of Surgeons of England drew remarkably similar conclusions. The College recommended changes in trauma management which included:
- Enhancing pre-hospital care, ensuring appropriate medical intervention
- Rapid transfer to the best local facility
- Assessing the use of helicopters
- Adopting ATLS principles
- Integrating trauma services within and between hospitals
- Investing in rehabilitation services
- Auditing and Researching injury and systems of care