Regional trauma grants

March 2022

EMF and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) have announced the first Trauma Care in Regional, Rural and Remote Queensland grant recipients.

Retrieval Services Queensland Clinical Director- Northern Operations Dr Clinton Gibbs and Townsville University Hospital emergency physician Dr Tanya Mellett each received grants, co-funded by EMF with MAIC, to support emergency trauma care across Queensland regions.

“Through the Queensland CTP scheme, we see on average around 7,000 people injured through road trauma lodge a claim each year. For people in Queensland’s regions, often these injuries can be of a more serious nature,” said MAIC Insurance Commissioner Neil Singleton.

“This is why MAIC was delighted to partner with EMF to establish this new program and provide clinicians with the opportunity to engage in research and put their ideas into action. We look forward to meeting these clinicians and monitoring the outcomes of their projects into the future,” Mr Singleton said.

Dr Clinton Gibbs will drive a collaborative project examining access to neurosurgical care following traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can lead to disability or death.

Road trauma is one of the main causes of TBI however the geographic spread of Queensland’s population poses challenges to delivering life-saving emergency care for time critical injuries.

In some regions, road and aeromedical retrieval services, trauma outreach and specialist transfer are the only means available to improve the chances of patient survival.

The collaborative project involving Retrieval Services Queensland, Jamieson Trauma Institute and QUT will pilot the Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation Accessibility Queensland Index (iTRAQI) in TBI.

iTRAQI will be used to model ideal retrieval pathways for TBI patients to acute neurosurgical and rehabilitation services, to establish opportunities for optimising care.

“By identifying Queensland regions with a considerable burden of road trauma-related TBI, we are better able to target treatment and outreach services as well as education,” Dr Gibbs explained.

The second research project led by Dr Tanya Mellett seeks to reduce unnecessary head scans in vulnerable older patients.

Patients with minor head injury routinely undergo a scan in emergency departments (ED) due to the risk of a brain bleed. In some cases, the patient must be transferred from rural and remote communities to larger hospitals for a scan.

Dr Mellett is investigating a way for emergency doctors to identify older patients that can be safely cared for without a scan. With no known Australian studies in the area, the research could help to reduce unnecessary patient transfers, exposure to radiation, and ED wait times.

EMF Board Director Professor Hugh Grantham ASM worked with an advisory panel of experienced clinicians and researchers formed to oversee the program, including a representative from the Jamieson Trauma Institute on behalf of MAIC.

Professor Grantham said clinician-researchers are vital to identifying and addressing barriers to emergency care in their own regions. “Trauma and emergency healthcare clinicians in regional, rural and remote Queensland are best placed to find appropriate solutions suited to the environments they work in.”

EMF thanks the Motor Accident Insurance Commission for funding this program.


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