The first national report on the nature and outcome of trauma management for children in England and Wales has been produced by TARNLET, the paediatric (0 - 15 years) component of the Trauma Audit and Research Network, The University of Manchester.
Every year across England and Wales, 10,000 people die after injury and trauma is the leading cause of death amongst children.
The Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) helps hospital staff to collect and evaluates data on all their significant trauma cases. Management and outcome reports support reviews of their trauma care.
The new TARNLET report gives an overview of when and where injured children present in the healthcare system, along with some measures of the process of care.
Over 4,700 children under the age of 16 suffered significant injuries in 2012. The report looks at 737 children with the most severe injuries. Sadly, 56 of those children died despite interventions.
The report found that boys were twice as likely as girls to suffer severe injury and the commonest cause of injury was a Road Traffic Incident either as a pedestrian or passenger (283). Falls from a height (271) are also a major cause of severe injury. There were 72 children, under the age of two with non-accidental causes of their significant injuries.
The pattern of injury occurrence shows that August and September are the busiest months whilst the busiest times are during weekends and early evenings.
The report shows that severe head injury occurs in a large proportion of the severely injured children emphasising the importance of neurointensive and neurological care within the Trauma Networks.
Maralyn Woodford, Executive Director of TARN from the Institute of Population Health The University of Manchester and based at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said: "One piece of data that raised significant concern is that over one quarter of significantly injured children are delivered to hospital, not by specialist ambulance crews, but by private car.
"Remarkably little work has previously been published which permits an analysis of paediatric trauma care.
"The TARNlet, committee made up of clinicians, managers and academics that focus on injured children, was established to address specific questions such as: the future configuration of paediatric trauma services; the outcome for individual hospitals measured against others within the system; the nature of injuries occurring and requirements and timing of appropriate transfer systems."
Data collection will continue and such reports are planned to be constructed annually with the TARNlet Committee carrying out analysis and discussing their findings with the appropriate NHS bodies. Much of the data is available for the public at the TARN website.