STRUCTURE: Plans to reconfigure major trauma care in the West Midlands around three centres in Birmingham, Stoke and Coventry have been approved.

The plans were approved by the West Midlands Strategic Commissioning Group at its board meeting on 31 October.

The plans will establish three trauma networks in the region, each built around major trauma centres at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, the University Hospital North Staffordshire in Stoke, and the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire.

Each centre will be supported by trauma units, specialist rehabilitation hospitals and local emergency hospitals.

The system will be introduced from March 2012. Eamonn Kelly, chief executive of the West Mercia PCT cluster and co-chair of the Trauma Project Board, said the plans could save 60 lives a year in the region.

He said: “Evidence tells us that to give patients with life threatening injuries the best possible chance of survival they need access to specialist life saving emergency services that are all available on the same hospital site.”

The group rejected an alternative plan for a single major trauma centre in Birmingham, and other proposals for two centres in the region.