Trauma designations approved for province's hospitals (08/02/06)

NB 158

Feb. 6, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Eighteen hospitals have been assigned a designated trauma level as part of province's integrated trauma system, Health Minister Michael Murphy announced today.

"The trauma level designation recognizes the level of service each hospital provides and will ensure patients are sent to the nearest facility able to provide the care they need," Murphy said. "We have followed the Trauma Association of Canada (TAC) in its designation system ranging from level 5, which is assigned to facilities that can treat or stabilize the least severely injured patients, to level 1, which can accommodate the most severely injured trauma patients."

The designations assigned to the 18 hospitals were recommended by the New Brunswick Trauma System Advisory Committee. Members from each Regional Health Authority self-assessed their own facilities based on the TAC guidelines and recommended the designated trauma level each facility should receive.

The trauma system advisory committee is headed by Dr. Dennis Furlong, a former provincial minister of health and long-time family physician in the Dalhousie area. It also includes the CEOs and senior medical representatives from each of the eight Regional Health Authorities.

Murphy said the provincial trauma system under development in New Brunswick is being constructed in keeping with the philosophy of the Trauma Association of Canada.

"When you look at the association's trauma system accreditation guidelines, you will see this statement: 'It is important to appreciate that a trauma centre does not constitute the trauma system, which is a co-ordinated, multi-agency collaboration.' This is the approach we are taking in developing an inclusive system that utilizes all of our resources, including our new provincial ambulance system, our network of hospitals and our specialized rehabilitation services."

Murphy said the purpose of designated hospitals is to ensure that people in the health system have the knowledge to quickly move injured patients to the nearest facility best suited to their condition and needs.

Ten hospitals have been designated as Level 5. They are Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Ste-Anne-de-Kent, Charlotte County Hospital in St. Stephen, Grand Manan Hospital, Sussex Health Centre, Hotel-Dieu of St. Joseph in Perth-Andover, Upper River Valley Hospital in Waterville, Tobique Valley Hospital in Plaster Rock, Grand Falls General Hospital, Hotel-Dieu of Saint-Quentin and Tracadie-Sheila Hospital.

Six regional hospitals were assessed as Level 3: Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton, Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, Edmundston Regional Hospital, Campbellton Regional Hospital, Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst and Miramichi Regional Hospital.

The Moncton Hospital was assessed as a Level 2 facility while the Saint John Regional Hospital was assessed as Level 1.

Three facilities - Sackville Memorial Hospital, Oromocto Public Hospital and Lamèque Hospital and Community Health Centre - were excluded by their own RHAs from consideration as part of the provincial trauma system.

In addition to accepting all of the designations as recommended, Murphy said he also accepts the recommendation of the committee that the Saint John Regional Hospital be the co-ordinating centre for planning purposes for the provincial trauma system.

The committee also asked for and received approval to establish several sub-committees that will do, among other things, a needs analysis at each of the 18 facilities designated as part of the trauma system.

"The committee chair has told me that each of these facilities lacks certain elements required to meet the designated level of trauma care each has been assigned," the minister said. "So these sub-committees will conduct a thorough gap analysis to identify the need in each of the facilities."

The sub-committees will address: pre-hospital care, hospital human resources (physician), hospital human resources (other than physicians), a 1-800 line for trauma cases, trauma prevention and a registry of trauma cases.

Murphy said he is pleased with the progress of the New Brunswick Trauma System Advisory Committee, which was established three months ago, and the direction it is taking in creating an inclusive system that utilizes all of the resources in the health system.

"While it will still take some time before full implementation of a provincial trauma system, we want to ensure that we do it right," he said.

The minister said the focus is on better co-ordination and planning so everyone in the system knows what they can do and where they can get help when it is needed.

"Dr. Furlong has told me that our larger hospitals will likely experience very little change in the number of trauma patients they now see," he said. "What we will see is a co-ordinated response, where specialists can advise medical staff of receiving hospitals as the situation unfolds. This will no doubt result in a better outcome for patients, which is everybody's objective."


MEDIA CONTACT: Johanne LeBlanc, communications, Health, 506-457-3513.