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St Mary's lined up as supercentre

PUBLISHED: 11:58 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:54 07 September 2010

Sanchez Manning ST MARY'S Hospital could be one of just four London super-centres to treat the most serious and life-threatening injuries. A public consultation will decide if the Paddington hospital will be part of a £12million upgrade of emergency care

Sanchez Manning

ST MARY'S Hospital could be one of just four London super-centres to treat the most serious and life-threatening injuries.

A public consultation will decide if the Paddington hospital will be part of a £12million upgrade of emergency care in the capital.

Currently only the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel has a trauma unit equipped to deal with severe cases such as car crash, gunshot and stab victims.

But a new 'trauma network' proposed under Healthcare for London, Lord Darzi's 10-year review of the city's NHS services, could mean patients will not have to travel more than 45 minutes to access this specialist care.

Geoff Martin of NHS pressure group Health Emergency warned the shake-up will undermine local casualty units. "This is a bleak picture for healthcare in London," he said. "The 45-minute target is not achievable and it's going to place an intolerable burden on ambulance services. Lives will be put at risk."

But Matt Thompson, of Health-care for London, said this misses the point: "If you have four major trauma centres networks more than 90 per cent of patients will be able to get to a major trauma centre within 30 minutes.

"And it's virtually guaranteed patients will be able to get to trauma centres within 45 minutes.

"But it's not the time to hospital that's important, it the time it takes to get definitive care. It's better to travel an hour to get definitive treatment than travelling to your local hospital and then needing to get transferred two hours later."

He added: "The situation where we are at the moment is not good enough. We're not reinventing the wheel we're just applying what has been done successfully in many other countries around the world."

According to Healthcare for London's consultation papers, most of London's hospitals cannot provide care for serious injury and only treat one victim per week.

A 2007 survey of trauma patients in the UK revealed more than half received sub-standard care and death rates are 40 per cent higher in Britain than in parts of the US. It is believed the proposed reforms will save hundreds more lives a year by increasing survival rates by 30 per cent.

Trauma centres could be developed by 2012 at three or possibly four A&E departments. The preferred sites include the Royal London, St Mary's, St George's in Tooting, and King's College in Camberwell.


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