Work Begins On £1m Air Ambulance Helipad At Aintree

Photo: Gareth Jones
WORK has started on a £1m helicopter landing pad at Aintree University Hospital which will give seriously injured patients who arrive by air ambulance rapid access to care. 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. At the moment air ambulances land on the playing fields on Lower Lane, after which a road ambulance is sent to transfer patients to Aintree’s £35m Urgent Care and Trauma Centre. This can take up to half an hour but with the new helipad it will take just a few minutes. The regional trauma centre receives patients from across Cheshire and Merseyside who need urgent specialist care which isn’t necessarily available in their local hospital. The helipad is being funded by the HELP Appeal, which has been providing significant grants to fund life-saving helipads around England and Scotland since 2009. 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.” 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 cost to fund its construction.” 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 helipad, which is being built by BAM Construction, is expected to be fully operational by 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.”