In 2009 the National Health Board identified trauma as a priority area for improvement.



Late in 2009 the Minister of Health received a letter from the Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) recommending a national trauma system be established in New Zealand. The Minister asked the (then) National Health Board to consider the benefits of establishing this type of system.​

In 2010 the National Health Board set about formerly describing New Zealand’s trauma service arrangements. The Board worked to identify what positive outcomes could be achieved by establishing a national trauma system. It did this in close consultation with key stakeholders.

The Board presented its findings in a review later that year. The review outlined several important outcomes for the 2,500 to 3,000 major trauma patients recorded each year.

The review found:

  • Patient care was highly vulnerable to time-critical clinical response and decision-making, as well as system failure.
  • Mortality (approximately 20 percent) and morbidity could have been avoided in many circumstances
  • Service quality and patient outcomes varied widely
  • Information for health services about how to respond to major trauma was not widely available

The Board’s 2010 review also considered information from trauma services in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This information highlighted the importance of functional and contemporary trauma systems to achieve improved service. It also highlighted the importance of establishing a national trauma network.

Following the Board’s review, in October 2010 the Minister of Health agreed that major trauma should receive targeted assistance. This assistance would be provided through the National Service Improvement Programme. The Minister directed that a national clinical network for major trauma be formed as the primary mechanism for service improvement. 

By early 2012 the New Zealand National Trauma Network (formerly known as the Major Trauma National Clinical Network) was formally established. The Network included key clinical and other stakeholders from across the country.  


ACC and MoH have been the key sponsors for the trauma network 

In 2013 the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Ministry of Health (MoH) approved funding for a business case for the Trauma Network. This support included funding for national clinical lead and program coordinator roles. While MoH and ACC are joint sponsors of the Network, ACC took a lead role in promoting and supporting it from October 2015. Having a high-performance trauma system is of benefit for many ACC clients.


Our progress 

Since our inception in 2012, the Network has made significant progress against its three priority areas. 

  1. Establish a formal trauma structure and system across New Zealand

  2. Establish the New Zealand Trauma Registry

  3. Develop consistent guidelines and plans for managing trauma in New Zealand

Future work will focus on formalising key elements of the system and continuing to build a strong service framework.