Life-saving work of Southampton's major trauma centre revealed in new TV documentary

Trauma: Level 1 banner

A glimpse into the life-saving work of the major trauma centre at Southampton General Hospital is to be screened on national television.

Trauma: Level One, a two-part documentary for ITV, follows ambulance and air ambulance crews as they rescue seriously and critically ill patients from across the region – and the hospital teams who go on to treat them. Among the casualties are victims of car, cycle, motorbike and paragliding accidents.

The programmes will follow the patients' journeys from the scene of their injury through to the hospital and the start of their recovery, with candid interviews from their rescuers, doctors and loved ones along the way.

As well as the initial drama and the medical prognosis, Trauma: Level One, produced by October Films, will look at the emotional impact of severe injuries and the difficult questions and decisions faced by patients, families and clinical teams.

The frontline footage was shot over seven weeks with South Central Ambulance Service, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and at Southampton's major trauma centre, one of 12 units in the country able to manage the most severely injured adults and children.

Dr Andy Eynon, director of major trauma, said: "One of the hardest parts of our job is talking to patients' families about the repercussions of major trauma. These programmes show how someone's life can change in an instant.

"I am extremely proud of the team in the Wessex Trauma Network and here at Southampton General Hospital, and believe the care we offer is truly world-class, giving major trauma patients the best possible chance of recovery."

Denman Rooke, October Films managing director, added: "This is a series that graphically reflects the fragility of life and the struggle to save it.

"For the patients, their families and the medical staff, being in the major trauma unit is an intensely emotional experience."

An extra £4 million has been invested in trauma care in Southampton, where staff established the Wessex Trauma Network with colleagues across the region.

Patients with severe, life or limb-threatening injuries are now taken direct to the major trauma centre in Southampton. Around 10% of them are children.

During 2012/13, the team at Southampton General Hospital saw 335 patients with life-threatening injuries and another 301 with life-changing injuries. 

In June 2013, NHS England reported that major trauma networks had resulted in a 20% improvement in survival for patients sustaining life-threatening trauma. This equates to around 1,000 lives saved. Many others have better outcomes from their injuries. Patients are receiving better care, both at the scene of their injury and at centres that can provide definitive care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The second episode of Trauma: Level One will be broadcast on ITV on Tuesday, 3 December at 10.35pm.

Posted on Tuesday 27 August 2013