The location of NHS regional trauma centres should be organised to deliver required levels of care rather than to deal with the predicted volume of patients, according to the NHS Confederation.

The coalition government has given its approval for the planned reorganisation of trauma services into regional networks to continue, with plans expected to be developed by March 2011 and implemented the following year.

Co-ordinating trauma services properly will reduce the £3.3–£3.7 billion trauma costs the economy

Implementing Trauma Systems, a report by the confederation published today, says planners need to consider the skills available in certain hospitals when planning where to locate centres, rather than where demand is highest.

It says: “The evidence on the impact of volume on outcomes is complex and suggests that facilities, skills and seniority, rather than the level of throughput, are the key to safety.”

Ambulance Service Network interim director Jo Webber said: “Co-ordinating trauma services properly will reduce the £3.3bn-£3.7bn trauma costs the economy [a year], reduce mortality rates by 10 per cent and make more efficient use of the £300m-£400m the NHS spends on emergency care for trauma.”

She said that while there was no “one size fits all” model, “trauma care needs to be organised in networks at a regional level so people can get access to highly specialised care if needed”.

But she said monitoring and improvement needed more data to be collected and published about major trauma services.