The decision was taken by the National Burn Care Group at a meeting in London on Tuesday. The Group brings together specialist burn staff, health service managers and commissioners to plan the provision of burn care services across the UK.
Wales is represented on the National Burn Care Group by Health Commission Wales and the Swansea-based burns centre has been fully involved in the planning of the burn service network.
In February this year, work began on a Welsh Assembly Government-funded £10 million extension and refurbishment of the current facilities in anticipation of its enhanced role. Work on the 1,600 square foot extension is due to be completed August 2008.
Edwina Hart said:
I am extremely pleased that the National Burn Care Group has recommended Morriston Hospital’s service to be the centre of excellence for burn care for Wales and the South West of England. This is testament to the reputation of all those at the Centre and is the result of a great deal of hard work by clinicians and Health Commission Wales to bring about this decision.
This week the burn team’s skills and professionalism has been tested to the full after the fire at a house in Llanelli which seriously injured four teenage girls. I want to thank them and the other emergency services who worked together to care for the girls. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the four girls.
Of course, the centre also treated seriously burned people following the explosion at the Corus steelworks in 2001. Following the explosion, Corus and the community raised money to open a new visitor centre at the Burns Centre at Morriston Hospital.
The Burns Centre justifiably has a reputation as one of the largest and best burns services anywhere in Europe. It is currently one of the busiest specialist burns service within the UK treating around 750 patients a year. The Plastic Surgery undertaken in Morriston Hospital includes leading-edge reconstructive treatment following accidents and illness.
Further work is needed to determine which patients will be sent to Morriston for treatment from other hospitals in the region and those details should be available in the New Year. I want to congratulate everyone involved in making this plan to improve burn care a reality.
Burns Consultant Mr William Dickson, Director of the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, said:
We are absolutely delighted with the decision. We have for many years worked in partnership with English hospitals and accepted patients for treatment from England as well as Wales. It is very welcome news that this is now being formalised so the service can be further developed.
Calum Campbell, Acting Chief Executive for Swansea NHS Trust, added:
Events this week have demonstrated the extremely high standards of care staff are able to give when there has been a serious burns incident. We are very pleased that the excellence, hard work and dedication of the Centre’s staff have been recognised.
The Centre has an excellent track record, not only in caring for patients here, but in also in promoting burns care abroad, in developing nations, through the Interburns training programmes which our surgeons have helped to develop.
The South West UK Burn Network formally approved the recommendation to the National Burn Care Group that Swansea should be the Burn Centre for the South West of England and Mid, West and South Wales on 11 September.
The National Burn Care Group endorsed that proposal at a meeting in London on 18 December. Burn patients in North Wales will continue to be served by Alder Hey, Liverpool and Whiston Hospital, Merseyside.
Dr Geoffrey Carroll, the Medical Director at Health Commission Wales, represented Wales on the National Burn Care Group.
The former Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons began work in February 2007 on a £10million refurbishment of the Welsh Burns and Plastics Centre at Morriston Hospital. For further information on this announcement, please visit the press Welsh Assembly Government website at: http://new.wales.gov.uk/news/archivepress/healthpress/2007/1421195/?lang=en
The £10 million extension, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, will pay for a new fully operational burns theatre, an additional fourth plastics theatre and refurbishment of the existing facilities.
The Healing Foundation announced a 20-year commitment worth £10 million to Cardiff University, Swansea University and Morriston Hospital in November 2006 for burns research. This is further recognition of the high regard for the academic teams in both universities and the clinicians and care of staff.
20 December 2007