HELP Appeal to fund new landing site in hospital grounds
Ipswich Borough Council has granted planning permission to The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust to create a new life-saving helipad beside its emergency department.
The HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to funding the construction of hospital helipads, has agreed to fund the entire work, which will cost £250,000.
The new helipad will be a big step forward in delivering first-class care to our critically-ill patients
It is likely that the ground-level helipad will be operational by January.
The hospital's existing helipad is located at the back of the school field at Copleston High School.
Once an air ambulance lands there, it takes critically-ill patients between 15-20 minutes to be transferred to the hospital.
With the new helipad, this will be considerably faster, offering seriously-ill patients the best-possible chance of survival and recovery.
The helipad will also mean the hospital and air ambulance teams can transfer patients more easily from Ipswich hospital for emergency treatment at other specialist centres.
There are three air ambulances operating five helicopters across the region which will be able to land on the new helipad, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, which treated and delivered 47 patients to Ipswich hospital in 2016/17.
With a larger size of 25m x 25m, and built-in lighting; air ambulance (AA) helicopters will also have the ability to land at the hospital in the hours of darkness for the first time.
Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, said: "We go where we are needed most; and Ipswich Hospital needed our help.
The minutes the new helipad at Ipswich Hospital will save could be the difference between life and death for many of our patients
“When a patient suffers a major trauma or serious medical event; an additional lengthy transfer to hospital after landing in an air ambulance could seriously affect their chances of recovery.
“Building this new helipad just a short trolley push away from the hospital could dramatically improve their chances of recovery."
Ipswich Hospital chief executive, Nick Hulme, added: “The new helipad will be a big step forward in delivering first-class care to our critically-ill patients.
"We are hugely grateful to The HELP Appeal for this £250,000 funding, every penny of which will contribute to the helipad and saving lives."
And Neil Berry, a consultant anaesthetist at Ipswich Hospital and on the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “Trauma is a disease of time and every second is crucial when dealing with medical emergencies.
“There are occasions when it takes longer to transfer the patient from the helipad to the emergency unit in hospital than it does to reach them at the site of the incident, so the minutes the new helipad at Ipswich Hospital will save could be the difference between life and death for many of our patients.”