Classifying the type and severity of traumatic injury in North Queensland: a multicentre retrospective study

Grant ID: EMLE-149R33-2020-GIBBS

Project Summary

Queenslanders living in regional, rural and remote areas have a higher incidence of traumatic injury and poorer access to health services than their urban counterparts.

Researchers propose to undertake a first-of-its-kind study to classify and characterise trauma patients from these areas serviced by Townsville, Cairns, Mt Isa, and Mackay Hospitals over the three-year period 2016-2018. Using patient records, researchers will examine the clinical therapies and interventions used and patient outcomes from point-of-injury through to hospital discharge.

The study will capture, collate and compare patient data from Queensland Health, Retrieval Services Queensland (RSQ), LifeFlight Retrieval Medicine (LRM) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to assess the current state of emergency trauma care in the Queensland Tropics, and any potential gaps in aeromedical healthcare delivery. The results will also provide a springboard for a wider system and processes assessment of emergency trauma care for the benefit of patients in North Queensland.



- de Souza, J.C., Letson, H.L., Gibbs, C.R. and Dobson, G.P., 2023. The burden of head trauma in rural and remote North Queensland, Australia. Injury,

- Dobson, G.P., Gibbs, C., Poole, L., Butson, B., Lawton, L.D., Morris, J.L., Letson, H.L., 2022. Trauma care in the tropics: addressing gaps in treating injury in rural and remote Australia. Rural and remote health, 22(1), pp.e6928-e6928.

Invited Expert:

- Letson, H., Australasian College of Paramedicine Rural, Outback and Remote (ROAR) Conference Adelaide, 26-27 May 2022.

- Gibbs, C., Letson, H., Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre (TAAHC) Communities of Interest Webinar “Retrieval and Emergency Research”, 29 September 2021.


- de Souza, J.C., 2023. The Burden of Head Trauma in North Queensland, Poster Presentation [Winner Best Poster]. 2023 TropiQ Research Week, Townsville, October 17 2023.


- Dobson, G. & Letson, H., Channel 7 Townsville Local News feature story talking about the project, 4 May 2022.

- Gibbs, C., Regional Radio interviews, Power 100 in Townsville and Zinc in Cairns


- Advanced Life Support Australia (ALS) media release "Researchers investigate state of emergency trauma care in North Queensland" June 30, 2021 (

- Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), "Study Tackles Inequities in Trauma Patient Care in North Queensland", 29 June, 2022. (

- James Cook University's media release promoting the project “Trauma Care in the Tropics”, 4 May 2022. (


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Dr Clinton Gibbs

Co Investigators:
Dr Hayley Letson
Professor Geoffrey Dobson
Dr Luke Lawton
Dr Brett Hoggard
Dr Ben Butson

Associate Investigators:
Dr Erik Biros
Dr Daniel Lindsay
Professor Richard Murray
Dr Jodie Morris
Mr Lee Poole
Ms Julie Chequer de Souza


Collaborating Institutions

CONTACT US +61 7 3112 8668 Suite 1A 34 Sherwood Road Toowong, Qld 4066