The report written by the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield and published in Health Services and Delivery Research in August 2018, studied data on the residents of catchment areas of five Emergency Departments that were closed or downgraded (for example, to a minor injuries unit or urgent care centre) between 2009 and 2011.

Assessing the impact of the reorganisation 24 months before, and 24 months after closure, the outcomes measured were ambulance service activity, number of emergency attendances at emergency departments and mortality.

Whilst there was evidence to suggest increased activity by the ambulance service, there was no statistically reliable evidence to suggest a change in the actual number of deaths in the areas.
The areas analysed in the report were as follows, five control areas were also analysed.

• Newark
• Rochdale
• Bishop Auckland
• Hartlepool
• Hemel Hempstead

Another independent study, led by the University of Manchester, has also found that seriously ill or injured patients that are taken straight to a major trauma centre despite taking longer to get there, give patients a better chance of survival and recovery.

This is due to having the right specialist care as soon as you reach the hospital.

Chris Moran, National Clinical Director for Trauma at NHS England, said, “That extra 20 or 30 minutes in the helicopter or back of an ambulance means that when you arrive there’s a trauma team receiving you, operating theatre immediately available to save your life and the skills to put you back together again.”

The study looked at 110,000 major trauma cases over nine years and found that the chances of surviving major trauma has risen by a fifth since 2012, when the centres were introduced across England.

NHS England has also published a statement about this study on its website.

Tim Goodson Chief Officer, NHS Dorset CCG “The decisions that were made by our Governing Body last September were done so to ensure services in Dorset are sustainable in the future and offer the best outcomes for local people. We welcome this research as it independently supports the national research that giving people care from specialist sites, which may mean further to travel for some people, will not increase death rates, and we believe will ultimately save lives.”