Elevated helipad planned for spinal unit

Elevated helipad planned for spinal unit

The County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal has funded £1m for the design and construction of a new helipad at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, UK.

Image credit: Sijon

The County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal has funded £1m for the design and construction of a new helipad at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, UK, which houses the National Spinal Injuries Centre. The charity reports that Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has submitted a planning application to Aylesbury and Vale District Council and, pending council and Trust Board approval, the new helipad is planned to be opened in January 2016.

The pad will be elevated over the main visitor car park, allowing easy access to the hospital’s emergency department. New LED lighting will also illuminate the entire helipad allowing for patients to land at night.

The Appeal’s chief executive, Robert Bertram, said: “Air ambulances currently have no other option but to land in a field close to Stoke Mandeville hospital. After a patient suffering from a major trauma, including those with spinal injuries, lands, they need an additional transfer in [a ground] ambulance, which could seriously affect their chances of recovery.” He continued: “If a patient with a broken back gets hospital treatment within four hours of the accident, their chances of walking out of the hospital increase dramatically. Building a helipad significantly closer to the hospital’s world class consultants could really help in this process, as the patient can then be admitted straight from the helicopter, rather than still being [a ground] ambulance ride away.”

Mark McGeown of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, whose patch includes the hospital, commented: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance has airlifted patients from across the region to Stoke Mandeville’s existing helipad over the past 15 years. Time from incident to hospital is a crucial factor in ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients suffering major trauma, and the new helipad will mean a shorter journey to the point of definitive, life-saving care.”

Stuart Blagg, consultant spinal surgeon at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, added: “A new, well-lit helipad that can cope with seriously injured patients and those with other life threatening conditions flying in from across the UK will be of great benefit to patients accessing our care. We are very grateful to the HELP Appeal for its generous donation.”

The National Spinal Injuries Centre treats around 150 major spinal injury patients from across the country, said Blagg. He continued: “Getting patients to us faster and without another ambulance involved will improve the care we can give to our most injured patients.”