Good trauma care matters. The European Section of the World Health Organization pointed out that high-quality trauma care might decrease the mortality rate following injury by up to 30%. This depends on an intact “chain of survival” commencing at the scene of injury through to the place of definitive treatment. Ninety percent of fatalities occur within the first seven days after injury, but more alarming is the fact that many preventable causes are common within the first few hours. Particular problems are: underestimation of serious injuries, misinterpretation of findings, technical failures and lack of experience of the trauma team.

A crucial link in this chain of survival is an organised and effective multi-specialty hospital team responsible for the initial assessment and management of the trauma patient. The main attributes of such a team are: competent team members, good leadership and excellent cooperation inside the team. To achieve this the team coordination is at least as important as the adequate performance of separate skills or the implementation of evidence based guidelines.

Trauma management in the shock-room is no longer a fixed sequence of interventions following the classical A,B,C,D,E approach strictly, but a variable set of processes running simultaneously and adapted to the patient’s condition. These processes need to be well organised to manage trauma effectively.

Learning and training are necessary to understand the processes and their organisation, which in turn is indispensable to enable each team member to fill in its role within the trauma team.

The ETC programme was devised to address these specific training needs. It aims at improving outcome of major trauma by offering state-of-the-art trauma training with a focus on the multi-specialty, multi-professional team approach and on developing non-technical skills as a team leader and a team member.