First rooftop helipad in the North West opens at Manchester hospital site

Landing pad will improve outcomes for critically-ill patients at Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

Alistair Rennie, consultant in emergency medicine and major trauma, and group clinical lead for emergency planning, is pictured on the new helipad in Oxford Road

The first elevated helipad in the North West has opened at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s Oxford Road Campus.

The state-of-the-art helicopter landing pad, which is situated on the roof of the Grafton Street car park, will enable critically-ill or injured babies, children, and adults to be airlifted straight to hospitals in Manchester city centre.

It will bring adults and children with life-threatening injuries to the major trauma centres at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH), both co-located on the Oxford Road Campus of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust site in the city centre.

In an emergency, being able to land just minutes away from specialist care is crucial.

And, with the new helipad, patients will be transferred to MRI’s emergency department in less than three minutes and to RMCH’s paediatric emergency department in less than six minutes.

As a consultant in emergency medicine, we know the quality and speed of specialist medical care following a major trauma injury is vital to ensuring patients have the best chance of a full recovery

The new helicopter landing site on Oxford Road could allow as many as 300 patients to be airlifted to the hospitals each year and is expected to save lives locally and regionally, increasing the chances of an improved level of recovery for many seriously-ill or injured patients.

Alistair Rennie, consultant in emergency medicine and major trauma at the MRI and RMCH, and group clinical lead for emergency planning, said: “The helipad will benefit major trauma patients across Greater Manchester and beyond, including people who have suffered serious injuries in road traffic accidents, assaults, sudden illnesses or falls in areas difficult to reach by road ambulances.

“As a consultant in emergency medicine, we know the quality and speed of specialist medical care following a major trauma injury is vital to ensuring patients have the best chance of a full recovery.

“I am delighted that this development is now a reality at the Oxford Road Campus, as for many patients our helipad could represent the difference between life and death.”

£3.9m towards the helipad was raised in just 12 months by the trust’s charity’s Time Saves Lives Appeal.

This included £1.1m from the Government’s LIBOR fines funds in the Chancellor’s Budget, and a donation of £1.36m from the County Air Ambulance Trust’s Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads (HELP) Appeal.

When it comes to major trauma incidents, it’s absolutely vital that our crew are able to reach, treat, and transport patients to the most-appropriate specialist centre as soon as possible to improve chances of survival

The HELP Appeal is dedicated to funding hospital and air ambulance helipads across the country.

The charity also received a significant donation from The Stoller Charitable Trust.

Kathy Cowell, hospital trust chairman, said: “There are a number of big organisations who made this possible with their significant donations, but it is also important to acknowledge our families, local businesses, and fundraising events which also made generous contributions, too.”

The helipad has been commissioned by the Air Ambulance Operators and inspected by the Civil Aviation Authority international (CAAi) to ensure it complies with the regulatory standards for helipads at hospital sites.

An aerial shot of the new helipad, which will significantly reduce transfer times for seriously-ill and injured patients

Andy Curran, medical director for the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said: “When it comes to major trauma incidents, it’s absolutely vital that our crew are able to reach, treat, and transport patients to the most-appropriate specialist centre as soon as possible to improve chances of survival.

“On-site helipads ensure patients can reach these centres incredibly quickly and it is a significant step forward for the provision of enhanced pre-hospital care within Greater Manchester and the wider North West.

And Tony Eggar, senior helipad officer at the trust, added: “All flights to and from the helipad will be overseen by the helipad response team, who will manage the safe landing and departure of the aircraft.

“Last month, we ran refresher training days for all staff working on the helipad and, going forward, my role will be to ensure the highest standards are met and that the rooftop helipad remains safe for all our patient transfers in the future.”

Previously air ambulances carrying critically-ill or injured patients to the hospitals had to use a secondary landing site in parkland a mile away. Patients were then transferred by road ambulance.

Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “Not only will the transfer of an air ambulance patient to the emergency departments be much smoother and faster, greatly improving their chances of survival and recovery, but it will also eliminate the need for a secondary transfer by road ambulance, freeing up North West Ambulance crew to help other patients in need across the region.”

Companies