Ipswich Borough Council has given planning permission to The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust to create a new lifesaving helipad beside its emergency department. The HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to funding the construction of hospital helipads, has agreed to fund the entire work, which will cost £250,000. It is likely that the ground level helipad will be operational by January 2018.
The hospital’s existing helipad is located at the back of the school field at Copleston High School. Once an air ambulance lands there, it takes critically ill patients between 15 to 20 minutes to be transferred to the hospital. With the new helipad, it will be considerably faster. This reduction in time offers seriously ill patients the best possible chance of survival and recovery.
The helipad will also mean the hospital and air ambulance teams can transfer patients from Ipswich hospital for emergency treatment in other specialist centres quickly and smoothly.
There are three air ambulances operating five helicopters across the region which will be able to land on the new helipad, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance which treated and delivered 47 patients to Ipswich hospital in 2016/17. With a larger size of 25m x 25m and built-in lighting, air ambulance (AA) helicopters will also have the ability to land at the hospital in the hours of darkness for the first time. This means significantly more patients will now be able to land at Ipswich Hospital and have access to its expert treatment because of these new developments.
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive, HELP Appeal said: “We go where we are needed most and Ipswich Hospital needed our help. When a patient suffers a major trauma or serious medical event, an additional lengthy transfer to hospital after landing in an air ambulance could seriously affect their chances of recovery. Building this new helipad just a short trolley push away from the hospital could dramatically improve their chances of recovery.”
Ipswich Hospital Chief Executive Nick Hulme said: “The new helipad will be a big step forward in delivering first-class care to our critically ill patients. “We are hugely grateful to The HELP Appeal for this £250,000 funding, every penny of which will contribute to the helipad and saving lives.”
Neil Berry is a consultant Anaesthetist at Ipswich Hospital and on the East Anglian Air Ambulance. He said: “Trauma is a disease of time and every second is crucial when dealing with medical emergencies. There are occasions when it takes longer to transfer the patient from the helipad to the emergency unit in hospital, than it does to reach them at the site of the incident, so the minutes the new helipad at Ipswich Hospital will save could be the difference between life and death for many of our patients. I am extremely proud of the medical care that is provided by Ipswich hospital and the East Anglian Air ambulance and am delighted that the HELP Appeal has enabled us to further enhance our service by making the new helipad possible.”
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