A CONTROVERSIAL trauma service shake-up at Inverclyde Royal is now set to be fully put in place.

In June 2019, the Tele revealed A&E at IRH would no longer treat patients who had suffered life-threatening or serious injuries.

Health board bosses have now confirmed that from the end of this month all trauma patients from Inverclyde will receive treatment as part of the Scottish Trauma Network (STN) set up.

Two major trauma centres have been created for the west of Scotland - at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow.

These centres will be supported by stand-alone trauma units, including Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Paisley.

Bosses say that people in Inverclyde who suffer life-threatening trauma injuries will go straight to one of the major trauma centres or to a stand-alone unit for specialised trauma care.

They will then get their follow-up treatment and rehabilitation back at Inverclyde Royal.

Health chiefs say the official creation of the network is expected to benefit an average of eight predicted trauma patients every month in Inverclyde.

They claim the move will be beneficial for patients as they will receive specialised treatment.

The also say it will free up resources at Inverclyde Royal to allow the creation of a centre for excellence in elective surgery - for patients choosing to have procedures like hip and knee replacements.

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the creation of the network - part of a national strategy announced in 2016 and led by the Scottish Government - would significantly enhance the overall quality of trauma care provision.

They added: "The community in Inverclyde will benefit from the STN in a number of ways.

"Primarily, those suffering from trauma will receive treatment at the specialised centres.

"IRH will continue to see hundreds of other regular orthopaedic patients, including those with non-traumatic orthopaedic injuries including broken legs and arms, through pathways already in place, such as A&E and through its elective capacity.

"The STN will also help generate capacity within the IRH to create a centre for excellence in elective surgery and the hospital will now see more elective orthopaedic patients than every before.

"Orthopaedic surgeons will play a central role in continuing to see and operate on patients."

But the change in the way trauma patients are treated has been met with criticism from members of the public and staff at IRH.

A hospital source told the Tele that setting up the trauma network was the next stage of the hospital becoming a 'much smaller scale operation'.

They added: "They're gradually turning it into a minor injuries unit and day surgery, right under the noses of staff."