England

New trauma unit at Addenbrooke's in Cambridge to serve region

A new regional centre to treat severely injured people from across the East of England is to be set up at Cambridge.

The unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital aims to develop skills in treating major trauma injuries.

About 800 people suffer severe injuries in road crashes and accidents every year in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Hertfordshire.

Major traumas are responsible for a large number of deaths of people under the age of 40, the government said.

Currently, major trauma patients are taken to local emergency departments.

However, because such injuries are rare, these hospitals often see no more than one patient a week.

Those behind the new centre said often meant the skills and knowledge medical staff needed to treat the most serious injuries were not as well-developed as other types of emergency medicine.

'Incredibly difficult'

The government has decided to set up a network of regional major trauma centres and the latest of these is to open in Cambridge before the end of this year.

Dr Robert Winter, chair of the East of England Major Trauma Network, said: "Providing expert trauma care in every emergency department is incredibly difficult.

"In the East of England, major trauma cases account for only around 1% of all the work emergency departments do.

"There is a wealth of international research showing that more patients will get better outcomes if dedicated centres, with a wide range of specialties on one site, are available."

He said major trauma centres had to be located in a hospital that also has a neurosurgery department.

Addenbrooke's in Cambridge is the only hospital in the region that provides this service and this has led to its establishment there.

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