Inside our Major Trauma Centre with Dr Rachel Tricks

Did you know that Sheffield Children's is one of only five paediatric Major Trauma Centres in England? They see around 120 major trauma patients every year who have suffered from instances including road traffic incidents, falls and burns. The Major Trauma team at Sheffield Children’s brings together a large number of specialist staff to ensure the best possible care.

Meet Dr Rachel Tricks, Major Trauma Lead and Emergency Medicine Consultant at Sheffield Children's Hospital

What makes Sheffield Children's special to you?

I was delighted to return to Sheffield Children’s in a new role as the Major Trauma Lead in March this year. Having studied at the University of Sheffield, I began my paediatric career at this hospital, spending the first six years of my training here and in South Yorkshire.

One of my earliest memories is of watching the BBC series ‘Children’s Hospital’ with my mum and dad when I was around seven or eight. It used to feature Sheffield Children’s regularly, so to be working here now is very special.

What does your Major Trauma role involve?

My role involves overseeing our major trauma care, which is the treatment provided to children with severe and life-threatening injuries. We see around 120 major trauma patients every year who have suffered from instances including road traffic incidents, falls and burns.

How many Paediatric Major Trauma Centres are there and why does it matter?

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is one of only five dedicated Paediatric Major Trauma Centres (MTC) in England. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Attending a dedicated Paediatric Major Trauma Centre after a serious incident has been shown to improve the survival chances of critically ill patients. Recent research has shown that the rate of mortality in adolescents for trauma injuries falls from 4.4% in a Mixed Adult and Paediatric MTC to 2.5% at a dedicated Paediatric Major Trauma Centre.

Studies have also concluded that wherever possible, major trauma patients under 16 years should attend a dedicated paediatric MTC first for the best possible outcome.

Who does the Major Trauma team involve?

The Major Trauma team at Sheffield Children’s brings together a large number of specialist staff including Emergency Department consultants, surgical teams, anaesthetists and Intensive Care Unit senior doctors, with support from operating department practitioners, nurses, radiographers, laboratory staff and porters.

Like everyone across Sheffield Children’s, we take great pride in providing the right care at the right time. It’s a complex role which requires a lot of teamwork and it’s really rewarding. 

My role in major trauma also extends beyond the initial emergency admission to reviewing every stage of their journey at Sheffield Children’s to make sure it is the best it can possibly be, right up until the point they are ready to go home again.

How important is the charity appeal for a new Helipad at Sheffield Children's?

The Children’s Hospital Charity are currently fundraising to build a new helipad at Sheffield Children’s, which will make a huge difference. It will allow us to become far more accessible as a regional centre. Air ambulances will be able to land directly onto the hospital, meaning patients will have quicker and easier access to the urgent care they need.

The new helipad means we can get critically ill or injured patients to the right place, with the right team and provide vital early care and management. The air ambulance teams and pilots are heavily involved with the planning for the new helipad too- we’re working hard with them to ensure they get the most appropriate space possible.

What does your role in the Emergency Department involve?

As well as my role as the Major Trauma lead, I am also an Emergency Medicine Consultant in the Emergency Department, seeing and treating patients, as well as supporting the junior doctors to deliver the best possible care.

We are exceptionally busy, with our department regularly seeing over 200 patients a day with record-breaking highs of 270. Despite the challenges, I’m proud of our work every day in delivering the best possible care for children and families that come through our doors.

Having a department dedicated to paediatrics improves the quality of care. Paediatric experience at consultant level means we can provide the best possible care at the earliest point. 

What difference would new facilities make to the experience of our Emergency Department?

The Children’s Hospital Charity are also fundraising to redevelop the Emergency Department, with plans for more space and additional treatment areas.

This would not only mean a more pleasant experience for those waiting, with less overcrowding and patients potentially seen faster, but a better quality of service too. For example, we could have more dedicated spaces for young children, adolescents and those with additional needs or mental health rooms for patients in need of a quiet, calm and safe environment.

Having those dedicated spaces will make our roles easier. If you attend to a child in a difficult, noisy environment, they can often be distressed which makes diagnosing and treating them more challenging. Removing those stresses would allow us to engage them better, treat them more quickly and ultimately discharge patients home sooner.