Work has started on a £1m helipad at Aintree University Hospital funded by the HELP Appeal, which will give seriously injured patients arriving by air ambulances immediate access to the Emergency Department and specialist treatment .
This new helipad will serve patients from across Cheshire and Merseyside, and will reduce transfer time for patients in critical care; at present air ambulances must land on local playing fields, which can increase transfer times by 30 minutes.
The HELP Appeal is the only charity in the UK providing funding for life-saving helipad from Devon to Scotland and the new Aintree Hospital helipad, will ensure patients are quickly transferred to Aintree’s new state of the art Urgent Care and Trauma Centre.
Specialists at the regional major trauma centre, which brings together teams from Aintree and neuro-surgery experts from The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, say the new helipad will save vital minutes when transferring trauma patients from air ambulance into the hospital.
Robert Bertram, CEO of the HELP Appeal, said: “It is very satisfying to see that work is now starting on this life-saving helipad at Aintree University Hospital, and to see this project get off the ground. As the only charity in the UK providing funding for hospital helipads, we are delighted to be able to donate the full £1 million needed to fund its construction.”
Mrs Sharon Scott, Divisional Medical Director of Surgery and Anaesthesia at Aintree, said:
“The new helipad is fantastic news for our patients. It will make a tremendous difference to them and their families, and it is all possible thanks to the generosity of the HELP Appeal.”
Ms Catherine McMahon, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre, said: “We are excited about the completion of the helipad on the Aintree site which will help cut crucial minutes from the transfer time of patients to the Major Trauma Centre. When you have been the victim of a severe head injury, every minute counts and this new development will help us to reduce morbidity and save lives.”
Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager at the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said: “Every second counts in matters of severe trauma, which makes helipads like this one so critically important for patients across the region. Its close proximity to the hospital will enhance the lifesaving service we provide, as we will no longer have to rely on a land ambulance to transfer patients to the emergency department.
“Overall, we anticipate that this new addition at Aintree will save around 10-12 minutes per patient – enough to save a life.”
The HELP Appeal has been providing significant grants to fund life-saving helipads around England and Scotland since 2009. The helipad at Aintree, which is being built by BAM Construction, is expected to be fully operational in summer.
Rob Bailey, Construction Manager for BAM, said: “The construction of the helipad at Aintree will bring huge benefits and we are proud to be part of the team to make this happen.”