Friday 9 May saw the first patient being delivered to the new £3-million roof-top helideck at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) in the UK, two days after it was first opened. The preceeding few weeks had seen various air ambulance agencies engaging in orientation test flights on the helideck, which is located 220 ft (67 m) above ground on the roof of the hospital, and on 9 May Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance ‘officially’ inaugurated the facility, landing with an adult male patient who had been airlifted from Pylle, near Shepton Mallet, having undergone cardiac treatment.
Construction of the helideck was supported by a grant of £500,000 from the HELP Appeal, as part of a slew of redevelopment initiatives, and it will serve the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, the adult emergency department at the BRI and the Bristol Heart Institute.
Bill Sivewright, CEO of Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, commented: “The importance of helipads at major trauma centres is paramount in ensuring that patients get to the right place for the best treatment first time. The fact that the helideck at BRI was used so quickly after its launch and potentially has already made a difference to someone’s life means it’s an invaluable asset. The development of helipads and suitable landing facilities is a key issue for the Association of Air Ambulances that we support strongly.”