UK – Frimley Park hospital helipad passes flight tests

UK – Frimley Park hospital helipad passes flight tests

31-Aug-2012 Source: Frimley Park

Frimley Park’s new helicopter landing pad for air ambulances is a step nearer to being fully operational after initial flight tests this week proved successful.

The first aircraft to land on the new helipad was the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance on Thursday (16 August), followed by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance the following day.

Kelvin Wright, consultant in emergency medicine and clinical director for the South West London and Surrey Trauma Network, has been the hospital’s lead for the helipad aspect of the development. He said: “I’m just so excited to finally see air ambulances landing on our new helipad. It is the culmination of about eight year’s planning and 18 months of building work.

“This is the final piece in the jigsaw of our fantastic new emergency department and day surgery extension.

“Along with our new heart attack centre and other hyper acute services, it underlines the trust’s commitment to providing the best possible emergency care to our local population.”

Air crews and Frimley Park Hospital’s ground staff carried out basic fire assessments and practised off-loading casualty trolleys for transporting into the resuscitation department directly below.

The helipad sits atop the recently completed £22m hospital extension, which includes one of the best and most modern emergency departments in the UK serving people in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.

The state-of-the-art department opened in July. Based on some of the best emergency facilities in the USA, it has 26 separate treatment rooms and one of the biggest resuscitation departments in Europe.

Until now air ambulances to Frimley Park have had to land in school playing fields on the opposite side of the M3 motorway. Patients are then transported by road ambulance to the hospital, adding to the journey time and reducing many of the benefits of air travel.

Now, with the new helipad positioned directly above the department and linked via a dedicated lift, the hospital boasts one of the shortest helicopter to door journeys in the south of England.

The hospital has also recruited 23 helipad standby crew from within its existing staff so that a team will be on hand for every landing. They have undergone rigorous fire training at the nearby Farnborough Airfield and are also trained in first aid and patient recovery.

The helipad is expected to become fully operational during September.

Frimley Park hospital was recently designated trauma unit status and is equidistance from major trauma centres at Southampton, Oxford and south London. This makes it an ideal location to receive and transfer the sickest and most badly injured patients.

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