A “buzz” around Aberdeen’s new major trauma centre should help attract doctors and nurses to the north-east, according to the Scottish Health Secretary.
The multi-million-pound facility, at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, is the first of four major trauma centres to open as part of Scotland’s Trauma Network.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, who officially opened the new centre yesterday, said they’ve had “no recruitment difficulties” in filling posts at the centre but added the facility could help attract colleagues to the region to help tackle wider recruitment problems.
She said: “There are still recruitment challenges in the north but I think the buzz of this new venture and the opportunity it offers staff to increase their own skills and widen their experience, work with colleagues they might not have before in a different way, all of that creates an atmosphere that others will want to be part of.
“So I would hope, that with the other work we are doing as a government to try and address those recruitment challenges, that people will want to come and work here and I would encourage them to do so. It’s a fine place to come and work.”
The centre, which will provide specialist emergency care to the most seriously injured patients in the north of Scotland, has been backed by £15.2 million from the Scottish Government so far.
Anne-Marie Pitt, north of Scotland trauma network manager, said the new facility will lead to an “increased awareness” of major trauma and how to care for it.
She added that an emergency medical retrieval team will be based in the city for the first time – at the moment there are two teams based in Glasgow – so getting trauma patients to hospital should be “a lot quicker”.
Ms Pitt also said: “The care they should get in the unit should be a lot better and quicker to access but also the rehab will be far more co-ordinated so the rehab will begin as soon as they get into the hospital.
“We have a rehab co-ordinator who will look after patients and their families because often their families don’t know what’s happening, they’ve never experienced such a thing, so it’s working with them as well.”
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Andrew Irvine, who was knocked down outside his house in Bridge of Don in November 2015, attended yesterday’s launch with partner Cheryl Mainland.
The 37-year-old had been out celebrating the news he was to become a father for the first time, when he was knocked down outside his house and sustained multiple injuries, including severe traumatic brain injury.
He remained in ICU at ARI for 17 days and was able to return home shortly before the birth of his first child. He said his care was “phenomenal” and credits the NHS for saving his life but said in his experience rehab facilities were lacking.
He added: “One of the things I think would be fantastic with the major trauma centre is the co-ordination of rehabilitation from the start.”
Cheryl said Andrew could have benefited from getting neuropsychology slightly sooner and thinks the more co-ordinated approach of the new major trauma centre will benefit patients.
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald, who campaigned to get a major trauma centre in the north-east, said it will be a “fantastic boost” to healthcare across the north of Scotland.
He added: “It’s especially going to be a fantastic boost to recruitment at ARI and Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital because these will now be the first in Scotland to provide major trauma care.
“That is really significant, if you’re a doctor, or a specialist of any kind in the health service looking for a promotion or a first post, you want to work in a major trauma centre because you know that’s where there’s going to be all the specialities in one place.”
Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said the centre welcomes a “new era” of trauma care in the north-east.
He added: “Getting the right treatment in an emergency is important to all of us, and knowing the SNP are putting health first with facilities like this clearly shows the north-east is a major priority.”