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To improve and optimise the health and wellbeing of the seriously injured. Helping them, their families, each other and our nation. Pioneering clinical excellence, health intelligence, innovation, education and research.

Introduction and background

Trauma remains the fourth leading cause of death in western countries and the leading cause of death for people under 40. Each year in Scotland, around 4,000 people are seriously injured, with around 800-1,000 cases being defined as ‘major trauma’. It is estimated that each year, there are also 100 cases of major trauma in children under 16.

The Scottish Trauma Network (STN) is a bespoke, inclusive and equitable solution, which involves the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and hospitals across Scotland – including 4 major trauma centres – working collaboratively to deliver high quality, integrated, multi-specialty care to severely injured patients. This approach will save more lives and improve patient outcomes throughout the trauma pathway – from prevention to rehabilitation – ‘Saving lives and Giving life back’.

The network will work across five facets of trauma care, from Prevention to Rehabilitation and Major Incident Planning. Each of these five dimensions of the STN will be critical in improving trauma care in Scotland and ensuring the STN delivers its aim of ‘Saving lives and Giving life back’.


The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport set out a clear commitment in May 2016, to implement a bespoke STN comprising of an inclusive network of hospitals, four major trauma centres (MTCs) and integrated network infrastructure. This commitment was subsequently included as a key outcome in the Programme for Government in 2016.

The four MTCs will be in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow surrounded by four regions, North, East, South East and West of Scotland.

A high level model for implementation of the STN was developed in 2016, and the network was established in 2017 to work with the SAS and regional networks to develop this National Implementation Plan. This has drawn from implementation plans developed by SAS and the four regions over the past few years, with each of the groups reviewing their requirements to ensure that they are able to meet the minimum requirements for MTCs, as agreed by the STN Steering Group in November 2017.

The STN has been established to support each of the four regional networks (North, East, South East and West), SAS and STAG to work together to establish a trauma network across Scotland, and support the networks aim of “Saving lives and giving life back”.

The STN team is now in place with an Associate Director, Programme Manager, Programme Support Officer and Lead Clinician and has been working with regions, SAS and STAG to support the implementation of regional networks and their planning across Scotland.

The goal of the STN is continual improvement in quality and safe care for the traumatised patient, whether that is at home, at work, by the roadside, or somewhere more distant and challenging. For our patients on this journey, successful rehabilitation thereafter will of course be dependent on all the interventions and improvements in quality care that came before.