£500,000 gift gives lift off to hospital heli-pad
PLANS for a helicopter pad on the roof of a city centre hospital have been given a lift by a £500,000 charity donation.
Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and its associated hospitals treat patients from across the region and beyond but air ambulances cannot land at the city centre site.
Plans are in place for the development of a helicopter pad on top of the BRI's Queen's Building and work is likely to start in November as part of the redevelopment of the hospital.
A £500,000 donation has been made towards the project from the Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads (Help) Appeal run by the County Air Ambulance Trust.
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The heli-pad will be used by the Filton-based Great Western Air Ambulance as well as other helicopter services carrying patients from across the South West, South Wales and beyond.
It will mean young patients with serious injuries or who require emergency operations or procedures could be airlifted to Bristol Children's Hospital as well as adults requiring specialist cardiac treatment at Bristol Heart Institute. From 2014, when the heli-pad is due to be operational, the city centre children's hospital will also be taking paediatric burns patients and those with head injuries who will also benefit from helicopters landing on the roof rather than on the Downs or another landing site and being transferred to the hospital by a land ambulance.
Professor Jonathan Benger, consultant in emergency medicine at the BRI, said: "The funding for a heli-pad at the hospital could not have come at a better time, as we are currently redeveloping the BRI and building an extension to the children's hospital to accommodate additional specialist paediatric services when those transfer from Frenchay Hospital in 2014.
"A heli-pad at the trust providing quick access to our adult and children's emergency departments and specialist emergency services will save lives and give our patients, many of whom are children, a much better chance of survival and recovery. We are extremely grateful for the Help Appeal's support in ensuring this critical development is up and running by 2014."
The heli-pad will be the fifth part funded through the Help Appeal.
Robert Bertram, charity director at County Air Ambulance Trust, said: "Although this is our fifth project, it is the first that connects directly to a specialist children's hospital. We are really enthusiastic about offering this grant which will allow UH Bristol to considerably speed up transfer times for its patients, particularly in the case of infants and children.
"There is a significant lack of hospital heli-pads across the country and for this reason we are in discussions with 20 hospitals about how we can help fund their heli-pad needs.
"You never know when you or someone you love may need a lifesaving heli-pad."