Tullamore Hospital's Trauma Assessment Clinic is 'Highly Commended' at Health Service Excellence Awards

Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore’s Trauma Assessment Clinic was shortlisted in top 11 out of over 300 entries from around Ireland

Offaly Express Reporter

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Tullamore Hospital

Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore

The Trauma Assessment Clinic at Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore (MRHT) has been highly commended at this year’s Health Service Excellence Awards. 

Over 300 projects from all around the country entered the awards, which took place last night at Farmleigh in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Eleven were shortlisted for final section, including the Trauma Assessment Clinic. Minister for Health Simon Harris TD was in attendance.

The Trauma Assessment Clinic has introduced a new care pathway for patients at MRHT aimed at improving the patient’s experience of care, by ensuring they are treated in the fastest time in the most appropriate setting. 

So far, the Trauma Assessment Clinic pilot project has seen a total of 1,668 patients. Of these, 30% are discharged at the initial stage, 40% are referred on to an appropriate clinic or a follow up trauma clinic, and 30% are referred onto physiotherapy services. 

This means that 60% of patients do not need to attend the fracture clinic and can be discharged at a much earlier stage. This is a big improvement from how patients were previously treated, with 100% of patients attending hospital clinics. Now, patients are getting the care they need at an earlier stage and only those who need follow-up care are being referred on to other clinics. Patients who do need follow-up care can now be seen quicker and more efficiently, either in a clinic or a physiotherapy service.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon and lead of the initiative, Dr Eoin Sheehan, said, “we are delighted to be highly commended at this year’s Health Service Excellence Awards.

“Our process works. It reduces the amount of time a patient attends a clinic, freeing up valuable clinical time for patients with more serious injuries and making more time for the elective schedules. Patients with fractures who present at Tullamore Hospital’s Emergency Department are initially assessed; those with the simplest injuries are provided with information on their treatment and sent home, with medical follow-up guaranteed within 24 hours. 

“The Trauma Assessment Clinic is a new care pathway for patients at MRHT aimed at improving the patient’s experience of care, by ensuring they are treated in the fastest time in the most appropriate setting. I would like to acknowledge the support we have received from hospital management, the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, and the National Clinical Programme for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery. The opportunities are endless with this model of clinical care and its simple format is easily transferable to another speciality or hospital site."

Also commenting, Orlagh Claffey, General Manager of MRHT, said: “We are very pleased with the Trauma Assessment Clinic’s commendation at this year’s Health Service Excellence Awards.

“It is a great result for the team. We have a dedicated team of expert clinical staff who have worked hard to get this project off the ground. The results speak for themselves. The project has dramatically improved the patient experience, something we at Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore are always working to do. It has also reduced the time patients spend in the hospital and freed up staff so they can see to more patients in need.”

The Trauma Assessment Clinic is run by consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeons at MRHT. The service uses a team approach which includes a consultant, a junior doctor, a clinical nurse specialist and a physiotherapist to review each patient’s case. This method streamlines the care experience for patients and maximises efficiencies in treatment.

On arriving at the Emergency Department, each patient with an injury is treated to a recognised protocol. The patient is given information and a splint or cast, followed up by a phone call from the orthopaedic team. Within 24 hours, the patient’s x-rays and notes are assessed by the orthopaedic consultant. The patient is then called and advised on their planned treatment.