Supporting major trauma patients from day one – a blog by David Welch

A cause for celebration

Last month NHS England made the announcement that since Major Trauma Centres were established five years ago,  an extra 1600 patients have been saved.[1] This is an astonishing achievement for the NHS, and particularly so for Leeds Teaching Hospitals, which houses one of the most successful trauma centres in the country, at the Leeds General Infirmary.

As the Major Trauma Centre (MTC) turns five this month, its fantastic statistics are not the only reason to celebrate. In 2014, just a year after the MTC was established, a group of brave surgeons, along with their patients, identified the need for a support service that would not only complement but enhance the care given to trauma patients at Leeds.

Day One was born – spearheaded by patients so overwhelmed by the care they had received that they were determined to give something back and improve what could be offered to future patients. Day One originally aimed to be a ‘connectivity’ service – connecting patients with people who could provide advice, who could provide help and – eventually – with former patients whose shared experiences meant they could offer a friendly ear.

Over the last few years, Day One has evolved into something quite phenomenal. It has supported over 400 patients and their families – with everything from peer support to purchasing specialist equipment for the move back home. The service has also paid out nearly £3000 in emergency funding, paying for essentials like parking and hotel stays for families travelling from afar.

I’m delighted that today we announced that the Day One service will now be available – supported and funded by Leeds Cares – not just in Leeds but in all hospitals across the West Yorkshire Trauma Network. This will make a huge difference in supporting trauma patients as they are repatriated to their local hospitals and begin the long journey towards returning home.

In my view, the best thing Day One has done in the last few years is connecting people to each other. At Leeds Cares we’re big believers in the power of communities in order to instigate change. From Day One’s early beginnings where patient power helped the service be established, to the peer support model we run today, where volunteers give up their time to help fellow trauma patients get back on track and focus on their recovery. People can be incredible when they put their minds to it and the supporters, volunteers & fundraisers who help us keep delivering the Day One service are absolute testament to that – and a definite cause for all of us to celebrate.