Final report for provincial trauma system released (10/02/08)

NB 171

Feb. 8, 2010

SAINT JOHN (CNB) - A new toll-free trauma line and a no-refusal policy for patients in need of transfer to specialty sites are among initiatives for a new co-ordinated trauma system. Health Minister Mary Schryer made this announcement today as she released the final report of the New Brunswick Trauma System Advisory Committee.

The committee was chaired by Dr. Dennis Furlong, a former provincial health minister and long-time family physician in the Dalhousie area, and included senior staff and medical representatives from each regional health authority.

"The provincial government recognizes that a co-ordinated provincial trauma system is a necessary and important step to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals who sustain critical injuries," said Schryer. "I thank the advisory committee for its time and expertise in developing an excellent report that will guide the development of the trauma system."

A toll-free trauma line will be established this spring to ensure that emergency departments have access to trauma specialists, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The no-refusal policy will prevent delays in transferring trauma patients to the nearest facility equipped to treat their condition.

Schryer said additional initiatives are being undertaken to support the integrated trauma system including:

Schryer also announced two new committees, which will include key leaders from both regional health authorities and the Department of Health. A new trauma system advisory committee will provide advice and long-term planning for trauma services. A trauma program management committee will also be established with responsibilities for the delivery of quality trauma services, as well as prevention, pre-hospital care and rehabilitation.

"The findings and recommendations contained in the final report provide the blueprint needed to build the integrated trauma system," said Schryer. "Now the hard work of making this a reality begins. These two new committees will be responsible for putting this blueprint into action and providing ongoing guidance and advice on the operation of the trauma system."

She outlined initiatives already completed to support the new trauma system. Dr. Marcel Martin, a general and trauma surgeon, has begun working as medical director of the Provincial Trauma Program. Also, the department has invested $800,000 in new equipment for the Level 1 and Level 2 trauma centres. These include defibrillators, an articulating arm, physiological monitors, an IV rapid infusion pump, and tele-health and videoconferencing equipment.

Furlong said the final report marks an important milestone in the development and implementation of a trauma system.

"This report is not the culmination, but the beginning of an important process that will take continued co-operation, time and energy from all those involved in the provincial health care system," said Furlong. "The work achieved will support the delivery of a provincial trauma system, which is a necessary and important step to ensure the safety and well-being of those sustaining critical injuries."


MEDIA CONTACT: Hillary Casey, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522.