Barts Health provides vital, life-saving trauma services to the local communities in east London and further afield. The Major Trauma Centre at The Royal London Hospital is a leading specialist centre with an international reputation for caring for some of the most seriously injured patients across London. It is also the home of London’s Air Ambulance.
Barts Health has local trauma units at Newham University Hospital and Whipps Cross University Hospital have dedicated facilities and teams to deliver high quality, clinical care to patients with less serious injuries.
Trauma refers to any damage to the body due to a physical injury or accident – and this is the leading cause of death among children and adults aged 44 and under. Barts Health treat patients with multiple injuries resulting from road traffic accidents, falls and violent crimes such as assault and gun/knife crime. Whether you’re a patient, relative, friend or a healthcare professional looking for advice a team of specialists are there to support you.
Responding to a major incident
Barts Health is a leader in the field for developing effective, efficient, coordinated disaster response systems. Over the last few decades, their clinical teams across the trauma service have been involved in the management of various major incidents, including the London bombings in 2005, the nail-bombing attack in Soho in 1999, and the terrorist bombings in Bishopsgate in 1993.They have developed and put in place action plans for dealing with emergency situations.
Their plans, which can be implemented 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, aim to save lives, relieve suffering and minimise the long-term effects on health.
The aim is to be prepared for emergencies, crises and disasters of any kind. These range from localised fires and explosions to large-scale terrorist attacks.
The Royal London Hospital leads the north east London and Essex trauma network and cares for a population of over five million people. The team works collaboratively with partner units and rehabilitation services to ensure that every patient receives the best care possible – with the optimum outcome.
They have a dedicated trauma ward where patients benefit from coordinated care from surgical, nursing and therapies staff. In addition to providing fast access to individual specialists, we conduct a multidisciplinary ward round involving all relevant disciplines and clinical teams, to ensure that every patient’s treatment is as good as it can possibly be.
Operations are scheduled so that different teams of surgeons can operate on a patient’s various injuries in one theatre session – this can reduce their time in hospital and promote faster rehabilitation.
Their clinicians have pioneered trauma care in the UK and The Royal London is at the heart of a London-wide network of trauma centres, offering world-class clinical care for people living and working in the capital. We are also well known for our leading research and training.
They are part of a large, specialist teaching hospital trust, and able to call on experts from a wide range of specialist areas. This ensures that their patients receive the very best treatment for each of their individual injuries.
Specialists from the following areas are on hand to treat our trauma patients:
• Cardiothoracic surgeons
• Ear, nose and throat specialists
• General trauma and vascular surgeons
• Maxillofacial surgeons
• Obstetrics and gynaecologists
• Plastic surgeons
Trauma patients are usually taken to the most appropriate location by the ambulance team.
• Local trauma units
• Major trauma centre
• Trauma care
• Support following trauma care
Local trauma units
Patients who attend one of our local trauma units will be seen and assessed quickly via the specialists who are based in the Emergency Department. Treatment will begin soon after arrival. If a patient requires surgery, Barts Health has emergency operating theatres that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A specialist team cares for patients with traumatic injuries, which are not life-threatening or limb-threatening. This may include minor head injuries and broken bones.
Major trauma centre
Barts Health is one of three designated major trauma centres serving the capital. Patients attending a major trauma centre will be cared for by a team of dedicated consultants from various specialities assigned to look after specific injuries. If a patient requires surgery they have emergency operating theatres that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patients requiring emergency, life-saving surgery are identified within minutes of arrival in the resuscitation room and transferred immediately to the operating theatre.
Patients who have been seriously injured can lose large volumes of blood and may require emergency life-saving blood transfusions. Co-ordinated care from the roadside to the emergency department means doctors at the scene can radio ahead for blood, prepare the trauma team and ensure blood and blood-clotting products are immediately available on arrival at the hospital.
Ambulance crews use an agreed protocol to take injured people to the hospital most suited to their needs. The most seriously injured will be taken to a major trauma centre – such as The Royal London Hospital. The majority of people will receive treatment in their local trauma unit. If patients arrive in a trauma unit and then require the specialist services of a major trauma centre they will be stabilised and transferred immediately to the major trauma centre for treatment.
Patients who need to stay one of our trauma units will be cared for on the general surgery ward or orthopaedic ward, depending on their needs. They will be seen by specialist surgical, nursing and therapies teams.
If you are receiving care in one of their trauma centres, then they will spend time with you, and the people closest to you, to discuss your treatments and the process for your recovery. They will talk to you about the dangers and long-term implications of certain injuries. You will be offered support and advice from a wide range of professionals who have expertise in caring for traumatic injuries.
Support following trauma care
Their aim is not only to save lives, but to do all they can to help patients to return to their normal lives. To help achieve this, they provide comprehensive support and therapeutic care, including occupational therapy and physiotherapy.
Allied health professionals from many disciplines are routinely involved in the care and rehabilitation of trauma service patients. They play a key role in assessment and early rehabilitation after traumatic injury. Our therapy teams help people to recover from their injuries during their hospital stay. In some cases, patients go straight home following their stay, but other may need further rehabilitation either in specialist units or from teams closer to home (as an inpatient or within the community). In all cases, the allied health team members will help to guide the patient and others in the team in deciding what should happen. They will often get involved in making referrals to teams in other organisations to ensure that the patient achieves their maximum independence.
If a patient is treated at the Major Trauma Centre at The Royal London Hospital, they may be transferred back to the care of their local hospital for their on-going therapy and rehabilitation.