Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 179, Issue 1, pp 123–125 | Cite as

Unnecessary inter-hospital referral of minor hand injuries: a continuing problem

  • S. M. Murphy
  • K. Whately
  • P. A. Eadie
  • D. J. Orr
Brief Report



Trauma patients are a burden on resources in terms of personnel, operating time and bed occupancy. The plastic surgery trauma clinic was established in January 1999 and has been running Monday to Friday mornings from 9 am to 1 pm since its establishment.


To analyse and compare referral patterns to the Plastic Surgery trauma clinic over three time periods.


Three time groups were analysed and compared: data from this initial study (2000–2001), a retrospective chart review (2002–2003), as well as a prospective study (2006–2007).


Numbers of attendances at the Trauma Clinic seem to be increasing every year despite encouragement by letter after the initial study for local centres to treat many of the minor injuries not requiring plastic surgical skills.


Admission rates have remained below 50% of the patients seen in the clinic; however 50% of patients required only local anaesthetic procedures performed in the clinic, or no treatment at all (27.6% of patients in 2003, 35.3% in 2006).


Trauma Hand injury Clinic Referral 


  1. 1.
    Coulter A, Seagroatt V, McPherson K (1990) Relation between general practices’ outpatient referral rates and rates of elective admission to hospital. BMJ 301(6746):273–276CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rea S, Jones D, Eadie PA (2004) Establishing a plastic surgery trauma clinic. Ir Med J 97(4):106–107PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. Murphy
    • 1
  • K. Whately
    • 1
  • P. A. Eadie
    • 1
  • D. J. Orr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plastic and Reconstructive SurgerySt James’s HospitalDublin 8Ireland

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