Pelvic and acetabular fracture care in England: current workload and future directions.
Martin A., McMaster J., Bretherton C., Noyes D.
INTRODUCTION: Fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum (PAFs) are challenging injuries, requiring specialist surgical input. Since implementation of the major trauma network in England in 2012, little has been published regarding the available services, workforce organisation and burden of PAF workload. The aim of this study was to assess the recent trends in volume of PAF workload, evaluate the provision of specialist care, and identify variation in available resources, staffing and training opportunity. METHODS: Data on PAF volume, operative caseload, route of admission and time to surgery were requested from the Trauma Audit and Research Network. In order to evaluate current workforce provision and services, an online survey was distributed to individuals known to provide PAF care at each of the 22 major trauma centres (MTCs). RESULTS: From 2013 to 2019, 23,823 patients with PAF were admitted to MTCs in England, of whom 12,480 (52%) underwent operative intervention. On average, there are 3,971 MTC PAF admissions and 2,080 operative fixations each year. There has been an increase in admissions and cases treated operatively since 2013. Three-quarters (78%) of patients present directly to the MTC while 22% are referred from regional trauma units. Annually, there are on average 37 operatively managed PAF injuries per million population. Notwithstanding regional differences in case volume, the average number of annual PAF operative cases per surgeon in England is 30. There is significant variation in frequency of surgeon availability. There is also variation in rota organisation regarding consistent specialist surgeon availability. CONCLUSIONS: This article describes the provision of PAF services since the reorganisation of trauma services in England. Future service development should take into account the current distribution of activity, future trends for increased volume and casemix, and the need for a PAF registry.