Successful landings in first year of service

Wednesday, 28 November, 2012

Southampton General Hospital and the Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads Appeal (HELP Appeal) celebrated its first anniversary in November of the hospital's onsite helipad. This life saving piece of equipment, which officially opened on 17th November 2011, received its first two patient landings within hours of being declared open and fit for purpose. It has since helped to significantly speed up transfer times for well over 300 critically ill and injured patients, averaging almost one landing per day.

The most common time for landings within the first year has been between 9am and 6pm with statistics showing that there have been 253 landings to date between these times. Fridays and Sundays have generally seen the most traffic with 41 and 40 landings respectively between November 2011 and November 2012. The most common patients to use the helipad have been those with major trauma followed by those with severe medical conditions such as heart attacks. As expected, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance has been the most frequent user with 206 landings. However, the Coastguard, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, the RAF, the Police and many others have all also used the helipad.

Prior to having the onsite helipad patients travelling to Southampton General Hospital via air ambulance had to land at Lordshill playing fields before being driven the final two miles by road ambulance - a transfer that could use up to half of the 'Golden Hour'- the term commonly used for the first 60 minutes following critically illness or injury.

Southampton General Hospital has been working towards an onsite helipad for some time before the opening last year, but required financial support in order to get the project off the ground. That is where the HELP Appeal, a charity established by the County Air Ambulance Trust to help fund much needed helipad facilities at emergency departments across the country, stepped in and provided a £1 million grant to pay for the construction.

Dr Andy Eynon, Director of Major Trauma, Southampton General Hospital said "There is no doubt that the helipad has been life-saving and a fantastic addition to the facilities here at Southampton General Hospital. Southampton is one of only twelve major trauma centres for
treating both children and adults in the UK. We are extremely grateful for the support from the HELP Appeal and know the helipad will continue to help save the lives of critically ill patients for years to come."

Commenting on the first anniversary, Robert Bertram, Charity Director at County Air Ambulance Trust, HELP Appeal, said; "Southampton General Hospital was the first major project that we funded as part of our national HELP Appeal scheme and the statis

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