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Trauma centres 'saving more lives'
Hundreds of lives are being saved every year thanks to a change in the way trauma patients are cared for, a new review suggests.
Since the introduction of regional trauma centres patients in England have a 30% better chance of surviving severe injuries, the Trauma Audit and Research Network said.
This equates to around 600 lives since the centres came to being in April 2012.
Experts said that more people are surviving because they are taken straight to specialist teams who know how to treat such injuries.
As well as a reduction in the number of deaths, thousands more patients are walking away from severe injuries without permanent disabilities.
There are 25 of these centres dotted around England. Before their introduction, trauma patients were taken to their local hospitals but concerns were raised that these organisations did not always have the specialist care that these patients urgently need.
NHS England boss Simon Stevens is to applaud the centres when he speaks at the Age UK annual conference in London later today.
"This is a major success story - more people are surviving serious injuries because they are taken straight to specialist trauma teams who identify life-threatening problems quicker and perform life-saving operations earlier," he will say.
"That's about 600 fewer lives cut short, 600 fewer bereaved families.
"The NHS of the future will be one where more support for frail older patients is provided locally, but where for really major conditions, patients get quick access to centres of excellence. We need both - not either/or.
"This reminds us that healthcare is constantly changing and the NHS needs to adapt with it. Sometimes we need to centralise in order to save lives, at other times we need to make services more local to meet the needs of patients."