The HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country dedicated to delivering helicopter landing pads at all Major Trauma Centers and key A&E hospitals across England and Scotland – has pledged £1 million to Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) Charity’s new helipad appeal. A huge kick start to its fundraising campaign, as the donation amounts to over a quarter of the total funds needed.
Its Chief Executive, Robert Bertram said:
“Central Manchester has world class hospitals and air ambulance service, now they urgently need a helipad to complete the emergency care triangle. Having a helipad on the hospital site will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for a seriously ill patient to get to the expert care they urgently need. The quicker they can see a consultant, the better chance of survival and making a full recovery.
“Knowing that the HELP Appeal’s £1million donation will bring the CMFT Charity’s Helipad Appeal significantly closer to its goal is fantastic.”
Using the strapline, ‘Time Saves Lives’, CMFT Charity’s Helipad Appeal will enable the creation of a brand-new 24-hour access primary helicopter landing site, the first of its kind in central Manchester. This will allow the Trust to save many more lives and will increase the chances of a full or improved level of recovery in a great many seriously ill or injured patients.
Located on the roof of the new multi-storey car park on Grafton Street, the helipad will be connected to the hospitals by a high-level link bridge and roof top corridor.
Currently the hospitals on the central site, including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Saint Mary’s Hospital, rely upon a secondary landing site in a nearby park. This arrangement means that patients initially transported by air ambulance must then be transferred the final mile of their journey by land ambulance. This second transfer, often undertaken on muddy or uneven ground, significantly adds to the risk of complication, particularly in children, due to additional handling of the patient. A secondary transfer also adds precious minutes to the overall transfer time with every moment’s delay greatly increasing the risk to life.
When an adult or child suffers a major trauma, the speed with which they can get specialist medical help can be the difference between life and death or between recovering and recovering well. The first 60 minutes following a major trauma or severe injury is known as the ‘Golden Hour’. Fast access to specialist treatment is vital to give patients the best chance possible.
Coinciding with the HELP Appeal’s donation is the launch of the Charity’s official appeal video. The sevenand a half minute long film features interviews with two families who know first-hand the benefits an on-site landing pad would have. Newborn Jeremiah Oderinde was airlifted from Saint Mary’s Hospital for life-saving ventilation treatment last Christmas. Thankfully Jeremiah is a happy and healthy baby boy however, the new-born’s transfer would have been much quicker, and his chance of survival would likely have been much increased if there was a landing pad onsite at the Trust.
17-year old Danielle Rigby was a patient of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital last year after being involved in a road traffic accident in her hometown of Bolton. Suffering a near-fatal arterial bleed on the brain, Danielle was airlifted to the children’s hospital via parkland one mile away from the hospital. An onsite helipad would have meant Danielle would have arrived at the hospital much sooner and would not have experienced a risky and uncomfortable secondary transfer. Also included in the Appeal film is CGI footage which visualizes the landing pad on top of the car park, as well as the link bridge and corridor to the hospitals.
Maurice Watkins CBE, Chairman of Central Manchester Foundation Trust’s Charitable Fundraising Board, says:
“We are incredibly grateful for the very generous donation from the HELP Appeal. Its support means that the Charity now has £2.4 million to raise over the next year.
Donations small or large will all make a substantial difference to our aim of building a 24 hour access helipad. Currently, the hospitals cannot receive patients by air ambulance at night. This helipad will make a real difference to major trauma patients, and those in need of specialist treatments, from across the whole of the North West and at all times of the day. “
Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager at the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said:
“Helipads are of up most importance in urban areas such as Manchester where secondary sites, which we often resort to using, are not in close proximity to the hospital. Saving vital minutes in transfer time may save lives, reducing instances of death, disability and suffering.”
“We are fully in support of a helipad for CMFT as it will enhance the life-saving service our charity provides.”
The support of the Central Manchester Foundation Trust Charity means that the hospital can provide additional resources that make life easier for patients and their families who use the hospital.
The Charity has three main areas of work:
• to support research projects to improve understanding of patient’s illnesses
• to help to create an environment that’s more patient-friendly
• to provide state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosis and treatment
About the HELP Appeal
• The Helicopter Emergency Landing Pad (HELP) Appeal was established by the County Air Ambulance Trust to help raise funds for much needed hospital helipad facilities across the country. Only a small number of hospitals have onsite helicopter landing pads and this means that transfer times are increased. Most air ambulance patients have to be transferred by road for part of their journey which takes time and can often mean a life threatening transfer is needed from the helicopter to the road ambulance.
• The HELP Appeal operates the HELP Appeal grant scheme which offers non-repayable grants to hospitals to help fund new helipads or upgrade existing helipads.
• The HELP Appeal relies solely on charitable donations and does not receive a single penny in government funding or from the National Lottery.
• The Appeal has already funded helipads at Oswestry Spinal Injuries Hospital, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Southampton General Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary and St. George’s Hospital in London, and is currently talking to over twenty hospitals from Brighton to Edinburgh about their helipad needs and how the Appeal might be able to help with this life-saving equipment. This year, new helipads opened at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, followed by Derriford Hospital in Plymouth in June and a helipad at King’s College Hospital in London, will open towards the end of the year.
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