St George's life saving helipad opens in London

Monday, 14 April, 2014

St George’s Hospital in South West London, has opened a £5 million life-saving helipad, partly funded by a £1 million grant from the HELP (Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads) Appeal. The second hospital helipad in the capital and the first south of the river, the helipad will help save the lives of people living, working and commuting right down to the coast, by significantly reducing transfer times to the Major Trauma Centre.

Located on the roof of the St James Wing, patients with serious injuries, such as those caused by road accidents, shootings, stabbings, major burns and falls from height can now be treated more efficiently, landing directly on the roof of the hospital, rather than being taken to locations further afield, often flying over St George’s. From the helipad, patients will be transported directly to the Emergency Department saving many vital minutes off transfer times.

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive, HELP Appeal, says: “It is always satisfying to see a project from concept through to completion. The helipad at St George’s has taken over two years to plan and build with transfer times for critically ill patients now being significantly reduced, ensuring life-saving treatment is received by patients far quicker.”

Heather Jarman, clinical director for major trauma at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, says:

“The helipad is a great resource for the hospital and will make a huge difference to the trauma patients we receive here. Our Major Trauma Centre already has the facilities and staff to provide expert care and with the addition of the new helipad, we can now deliver treatment faster than ever before.”

This is the latest in a line of scheduled helipads to receive funding from the HELP Appeal, part of an ongoing programme to raise funds needed to construct or update existing helipads around the country. Run by the County Air Ambulance Trust, the HELP Appeal is working towards all Major Trauma Centres and key A&E hospitals having suitable helipad access in the future so that Air Ambulance cover can continue to make a crucial difference in a medical emergency.

Pipeline helipads currently planned in the next twelve months include Bristol Royal Infirmary which opens in May this year, Sheffield, Hull, Liverpool and Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. Other helipads that have already opened include those at Oswestry Spinal Injuries, Southampton General and St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight. Funding towards refurbished or upgraded helipads has also been provided at Gloucester Royal, Addenbrooke's in Cambridge and Royal Preston Hospital.

The HELP Appeal was established by the County Air Ambulance Trust to help fund much needed helipad facilities at emergency departments across the country. Their work includes upgrading existing helipads, providing extra equipment such as lighting to enable night flights between helipads, as well as the construction and opening of new helipads, with each project requiring its own assessment and planning permission.

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