Pathways and factors that influence time to definitive trauma care for injured children in New South Wales, Australia

Publication Name



Background: Timely definitive paediatric trauma care influences patient and parental physical and emotional outcomes. New South Wales (NSW) covers a large geographical area with all three NSW paediatric trauma centres (PTC) located in two approximated major cities, meaning it is inevitable that some injured children receive initial treatment locally and then require transfer. Little is known about the factors that then impact timely arrival of injured children to definitive care. Methods: This included children admitted between July 2015 and September 2016, <16 years with an injury severity (ISS) ≥9; or requiring intensive care admission; or deceased following injury. Children were identified through the three PTCs, NSW Trauma Registry and NSW Medical Retrieval Registry. Results: There were 593 children admitted following injury and 46% required transfer to a PTC. There was no significant difference in age, ISS, ICU admission or head injury (AIS >2) between transferred and directly transported cohorts. There were significant differences in mechanism of injury between the two groups (χ (9) = 45.9, p < 0.001). The median (IQR) time to book a transfer from arrival at the referring facility, was 146.5 (86–238) minutes. Time from injury to arrival at the PTC more than doubled for children transferred, with significant and unwarranted variability between transporting agencies resulting in unwarranted delays to surgical intervention. For example, time spent at the referring facility by Aeromedical Retrieval Service was less than half that of the Newborn & paediatric Emergency Transport Service [53 (IQR:47–61) vs 115 (84–155) minutes (p <0.001)]. Conclusion: Clinicians caring for paediatric trauma patients in facilities outside trauma centres require the capability and opportunity to identify and notify early those requiring transfer for ongoing management. The provision of a streamlined referral and transfer process for all paediatric trauma patients requiring treatment in NSW PTCs would reduce the burden on the referring facility, reduce variation amongst transport providers and improve time to definitive care. 2

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Number

GNT 1092499

Funding Sponsor

Thyne Reid Foundation



Link to publisher version (DOI)