A prospective audit of trauma patients seen or treated by the Department of General Surgery at the North Staffordshire Hospital Trauma Centre has been carried out, examining both the effect of a newly established trauma centre on overall workload and the outcome of patients admitted with severe injury. Trauma comprised approximately 2 per cent of the overall general surgical emergency workload. General surgeons were involved in the assessment of 25 per cent of severely injured patients but overall operated on fewer than 10 per cent of patients in this group. No patient died during the study period as a consequence of missed or inadequately treated intra-abdominal injury. These data suggest that there is insufficient work to justify specialist general surgical trauma surgeons in the UK. When general surgical intervention is required, however, it is usually vital and potentially life-saving.