2-Feb-2015 Source: King’s College Hospital
The facility at King’s will be London’s third helipad, and serve a trauma population of 5.5 million people across south east London and Kent.
The multi-million pound helipad will speed up the time it takes helicopters to transfer critically ill patients to King’s. The helipad will be built on top of an existing tower-block on the King’s site and reduce ‘landing-to-resus’ transfer times to just five minutes.
At present, helicopters land in nearby Ruskin Park and patients are transferred to King’s by road – a process which can take as long as 25 minutes.
The cost of the new facility is being met in part by charitable donations from the County Air Ambulance Trust’s HELP (Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads) Appeal, as well as donations from fundraisers who supported the helipad’s Time is Life fundraising appeal. The Trust has also committed money to the project.
Mr Tim Smart, Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely grateful to the County Air Ambulance Trust for supporting the project since day one.
“I would also like to say thank you to everyone who has helped raised money for the helipad, be it through private donations, running marathons, abseiling off buildings, or the various other weird and wonderful challenges people have taken part in to raise money for this important project. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “We are delighted to see work starting on the new Helipad at King’s and pleased that the HELP Appeal has been able to make donations of £2 million to help make the project possible.
“When a critical injury or accident takes place, every second is vital. The new helipad will help to ensure that patients get the fastest access to the often life-saving treatment they require. It will save many lives.”
Mr Rob Bentley, Director of Trauma at King’s, said confirmation that the project was going ahead represented a major step-forward for trauma in London, and added:
“King’s is already a Major Trauma Centre but with the addition of a helipad on the hospital site we will bring truly world-class trauma facilities to this part of London.”
Dr Malcolm Tunnicliff is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Clinical Director for the Emergency Department at King’s, and also does shifts with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, which regularly flies patients to King’s. He said: “These are exciting times for King’s, the patients we treat, and our staff who go above and beyond-day in, day out –to save people’s lives.”
Paul Henderson, 64, from Deal in Kent, was transferred to King’s by the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in April last year. Paul, a retired teacher who is now a lay priest and magistrate, suffered a fractured skull and contusions to the front of his head after being hit by a bike when crossing the road. The transfer to King’s from Deal – which took 41 minutes – probably saved his life. He was put in an induced coma, but eventually came round. He is now fit and well. He said: “I am lucky to be alive. I can’t remember much about the accident, apart from waking up in King’s. I’m now back to normal, and so grateful for the care I received from the medical teams.”
The new helipad at King’s will take approximately a year to build, and rise 50 metres above the ground on top of the hospital’s Ruskin Wing. The pad will be made of approximately 75,000kg of aluminium, supported by approximately 100 tonnes of steel. It will be manufactured off-site, and lifted into place when ready using one of the UK’s largest cranes.