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Press Release

Patients suffering traumatic injuries to receive intensive care

  • Date : 2011-10-14
  • Hit : 4495

Patients suffering traumatic injuries to receive intensive care

- Sixteen centers nationwide by 2016 : One trauma center per metropolitan city and province.

- 200 billion won to be invested over five years for 24/7 service.

- 20,000 patients to be exclusively treated on 650 beds for intensive care

- Preventable trauma death rate expected to drop from 35% to 20%

□ The Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister Rim Chemin) announced that it would open sixteen* trauma centers nationwide in phases by 2016.

* This number includes the trauma center at Busan National University Hospital, which is to open in 2013 with sponsorship by the Ministry.

In Korea, preventable trauma death rate was 35.2% in 2010. This percentage is higher than 10 to 15% in the U.S. and Japan. The rate declined in advanced countries when they established specialized trauma care systems.

* Drop in preventable trauma death rate : U.S. 34% → 15% / Canada 52% → 18% / Germany 40% → 20%

* The number of trauma centers : 203 centers in the U.S., 90 in Germany, 22 in Japan, 4 in London, none in Korea

○ Care for trauma patients requires multidisciplinary personnel and long-term hospitalization, which renders such care very expensive. The trauma care personnel are often overloaded and exposed to high risks, which has discouraged many medical professionals from going into this field. The government must invest heavily in it as a result.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare discovered that the most pressing need in trauma patient treatment in Korea is to resolve the shortage of intensive care units for trauma and doctors specializing in trauma . The Ministry announced that it would invest some 200 billion won by 2016 to improve the care system for trauma patients.

On September 27, the government confirmed that it had earmarked 40 billion won for trauma care in its budget plan for 2012. It also altered its emergency medical fund plan to disburse 16 billion won for trauma care in the second half of 2011.

By 2016, a total of 16 Trauma Centers will be in full operation. The locations of the centers will be determined with consideration of trauma patients' accessibility. Starting in 2016, the population distribution and demand will be studied to determine whether to open additional trauma centers.

* The National Medical Center scheduled to be relocated will likely be to host the "Central Trauma Center."

The Ministry of Health and Welfare will publicly select 15 centers (one center already designated at Busan National University Hospital and scheduled to open in 2013), one per city and province in early October. The Ministry will finance the setup and operation of trauma centers in accordance with each hospital's annual implementation plan.

* Selection process will begin on October 5 (Wednesday).

(Government Support): Each trauma center will be granted 8 billion won from the emergency medical fund for the setup of trauma facilities such as exclusive intensive care units (40 beds) for the trauma patients and the angiography rooms. In compliance with the government's plan to increase the number of trauma specialists, 0.7 to 2.7 billion won (maximum 23 people) will be provided in phases for the payroll costs.

(Expense by hospital): Hospitals with trauma centers must have facilities, equipment, and personnel that meet the criteria required to be designated as specialized emergency medical centers (trauma) as stipulated in the Emergency Medicine Act, and must have a unit for trauma care, equipped with at least two exclusive operating rooms and a ward of 40 beds or more.

□ Trauma Centers will build a patient transfer system to promptly transfer trauma patients to the trauma centers. Four groups of trauma teams will work in three shifts, providing care for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare plans to lay the groundwork for a regional trauma care system by 2016, when the first phase of establishing trauma centers will be completed . This will allow some 20,000 trauma patients to be treated on approximately 650 exclusive beds every year.

○ Once the trauma care system in major geographic areas is established, including the "Central Trauma Center" to be opened in the relocated National Medical Center, preventable trauma death rate is expected to drop from 35% to 20%, closer to the level in advanced countries.

* Preventable trauma death rate : 15% in the U.S., 18% in Canada, 20% in Germany

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