Objective: To determine whether the statewide system of trauma care introduced in 2000 has resulted in improved survival for all major trauma patients in Victoria.
Design, setting and participants: Population-based cohort study using data from the Victorian State Trauma Registry (VSTR), a registry of all hospitalised major trauma patients in Victoria. The study included major trauma patients with an Injury Severity Score > 15 captured by the VSTR between July 2001 and June 2006.
Main outcome measure: In-hospital mortality.
Results: The number of major trauma cases captured by the registry rose from 1153 in 2001-02 to 1737 in 2005-06. Adjusting for key predictors of mortality, there was a significant overall reduction between 2001-02 and 2005-06 in the risk of death for patients treated in the trauma system (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.62 [95% CI, 0.48-0.80]). The reduced risk of death was also significant when road trauma cases (AOR, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.39-0.80]) and serious head injury cases (AOR, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.46-0.83]) were analysed separately. The proportion of road trauma patients definitively treated at one of the three major trauma service (MTS) hospitals in Victoria rose by 7% over the 5-year period. Direct transfers from the scene of injury to MTS hospitals rose by 8% for all cases and 13% for road trauma cases over the same period.
Conclusions: Introduction of a statewide trauma system was associated with a significant reduction in risk-adjusted mortality. Such inclusive systems of trauma care should be regarded as a minimum standard for health jurisdictions.