The country’s first NHS major trauma car that launched in Cornwall has now responded to more than 100 incidents.

The car, a first for England and Wales and described as a “game changer”, means major trauma consultants can provide critical care to patients before even reaching a hospital.

It was launched in Cornwall in August 2022 by the major trauma service at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and covers a wide geographic area.

It responds to the most critically injured and unwell patients across the Duchy, making sure they receive advance care as quickly as possible.

Resources in the car go beyond what is typically provided, meaning specially-trained doctors can provide hospital-led treatments to patients at the scene of injuries and accidents, such as falling from a height or serious road traffic collisions.

It is a fully marked ‘blue light’ response vehicle that is on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Matt Beardmore, consultant anaesthetist and major trauma specialty lead at RCHT, said: “When patients suffer life-threatening or life-changing injuries, they should be taken directly to the Major Trauma Centre at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth or to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

Matt Beardmore, consultant anaesthetist and major trauma specialty lead at RCHT, with the carMatt Beardmore, consultant anaesthetist and major trauma specialty lead at RCHT, with the car (Image: HELP Appeal)

“However, before our critical care car became operational, some patients would have had to come to the Royal Cornwall Hospital to be stabilised first, before being transferred to the Major Trauma Centre.

“Now, thanks to this fully-kitted rapid response vehicle, RCHT’s specialist trauma doctors can work alongside critical care paramedics to deliver anaesthesia and establish patients on a ventilator on scene, before an immediate transfer from the scene to a Major Trauma Centre.

“Given the geographic and rural challenges we have in Cornwall, this is potentially lifesaving.

“The ability to work alongside Cornwall Air Ambulance and South West Ambulance Service at major incidents is a game changer, and one that would not have been possible without the HELP Appeal and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.”

The car was brought to Cornwall thanks to funding from the HELP Appeal and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.

Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “We are always committed to funding pioneering new programmes which will dramatically improve patient outcomes.

“This is one such project where we had no hesitation in making a donation of £50,000 to, as it is helping to save time and save lives. Thanks to our supporters for making it happen.”

Karen Murrish, fundraising manager for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity, said: "Equipping the response car was made possible by generous donations to our One and All Fund.

“We are proud to have collaborated with the HELP Appeal on this project, and it is truly wonderful to see the service reach this significant milestone."