Experts say the new plan could see survival rates increase by as much as 30%
A new plan has been published which proposes two new major trauma centres for Dublin and Cork.
The proposal, from the Trauma Steering Group and approved today by Cabinet, will also see University Hospital Galway considered as a trauma unit.
Around 1,600 patients suffer a major trauma each year, which includes a serious injury after a fall or road traffic accident.
The report puts forward a plan for an Irish trauma system, which would include two regional trauma networks - one Central and one South.
Speaking about the new report, Health Minister Simon Harris said the incidence of major trauma here is 'relatively low', but stressed the cost to individuals and families can be very high.
He observed: “The vision for a national trauma system set out in this major report is to prevent unnecessary deaths, to reduce disabilities and to significantly improve the patient’s chances of attaining the fullest possible recovery.
"The overall aim of this Report is to address the needs of all injured patients wherever they are injured, and wherever they receive care."
He added: "This is about providing the right care to patients and increasing services and expertise.”
Dr Colm Henry from the HSE says this new plan could see survival rates increase by as much as 30%, through identifying people with severe trauma early and bringing them to the right hospital:
The National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA), meanwhile, welcomed the publication of the Trauma Steering Group's report.
The NOCA published its own report last week, which found that 28% patients were transferred to another hospital for ongoing trauma care as the necessary services were not available on the original site.
Dr Conor Deasy, National Clinical Lead, observed: “The recommendations arising from the Trauma Steering Group need to be implemented to ensure that there is a cohesive trauma system in place in Ireland.
"Currently, none of the 26 trauma receiving hospitals in Ireland meet international criteria to be designated as a major trauma centre. Critically, none receive the threshold volume of severely injured patients to maintain clinician's skills in the delivery of care to this complex group of patients."
As part of efforts to implement the findings of the latest recommendations, the HSE notes that it plans to recruit and appoint a National Clinical Lead for Trauma Services 'as soon as possible'.
The process to select a hospital in Dublin as a major trauma centre is also set to get underway.