THE emergency department at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg has been accredited as a level three trauma centre by the Trauma Society of South Africa (TSSA), becoming the first private trauma facility in the city to be endorsed in this way.“The emergency department at the hospital has been providing an essential service to the community for a number of years. The hospital’s management, doctors and staff have made a tremendous effort to ensure that the trauma centre meets the strict requirements of the TSSA inspection teams and its accreditation is richly deserved,” said Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager: emergency, trauma, transplant and CSI.“The accreditation provides the community and emergency services personnel with the assurance that they can access quality trauma and emergency medical care at the Netcare St Anne’s Hospital emergency department. It is pleasing that this recognition comes ahead of the holiday season, which is always a busy time for our emergency departments in the province,” said Toubkin.TSSA accreditation requires that trauma facilities and emergency departments be equipped to set standards, and staffed by appropriately qualified emergency doctors and nursing personnel. It also ensures that patients who have suffered more complex multiple trauma injuries can be promptly transferred to a higher level trauma facility within the region should that be necessary.According to Toubkin, the emergency department at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital is the first private facility of its kind in Pietermaritzburg, and the fourth Netcare emergency department in KwaZulu-Natal to be accredited as a trauma centre by the TSSA, and the facility has started working towards achieving level one accreditation.She says that all of Netcare’s emergency departments, both nationally and within KZN, have either achieved, or are working towards accreditation. Earlier this year, Netcare uMhlanga Hospital was accredited as a level two trauma centre, and Netcare Alberlito and Netcare Kingsway hospitals have both achieved level three accreditation.Netcare St Anne’s Hospital’s current level three accreditation means that it can provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, basic emergency operations and the stabilisation of patients. It also requires standardised treatment protocols and established early transfer systems to be in place.“The TSSA has been conducting a nationwide process of accrediting trauma centres within both the private and public health-care sectors in South Africa over the past number of years. “The goal of the initiative is to create a comprehensive trauma system whereby patients can be treated promptly at a trauma centre that is best placed to treat their specific injuries. International studies have shown that such a trauma system improves medical outcomes and can save lives,” she said.— Supplied.