The helipad was built thanks to the £500,000 funding from the HELP Appeal, with the aim of providing patients across East and North Yorkshire, and parts of Lincolnshire, with access to the Major Trauma Centre (MTC) for the area via the hospital grounds.
Following the completion of the helipad, Linc & Notts Air Ambulance was the first helicopter to fly onto the new landing site, complete with a five-person crew, having just flown a patient into an exiting helipad near the new one.
Intensive Care Consultant Dr Tom Cowlam, the trust’s clinical lead for the MTC, said: “The new helipad looks very impressive. The fact that we were able to complete the first test landing so quickly after construction was completed was down to pure chance, but now that we’ve seen the first helicopter land, we’re looking forward to being able to complete all of the tests with our partners and bring the helipad into permanent use.”
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, noted that having a helipad beside the Emergency Department can play a significant part in saving ‘vital minutes’ when transporting a patient, thus saving lives. In fact, he explained, that the new helipad will shorten the journey by 15 minutes, removing the need for a patient to be transferred in a second ambulance to the Emergency Department.
Bertram added: "With the support of the air ambulances and the excellent emergency care team at Hull Royal Infirmary – this incredible mix of helicopters, helipad and hospital medical staff – will make a huge difference to those people who may urgently need life-saving treatment.”
Hull Royal Infirmary has been credited as saving 1,600 people’s lives since being established in 2012. And this development will likely cause a further spike in numbers.
The helipad will most often be used by Linc & Notts Air Ambulance, while Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Derbyshire, Leicester and Rutland Air Ambulance will also fly casualties into the site. The HELP Appeal detailed that the Children’s Air Ambulance will also use the helipad to fly in specialist medical teams to treat seriously ill children, as well as providing air medical transport to seriously ill children.
In addition to the new helipad, an access road for fire engines and service vehicles has been built alongside a second pedestrian route where patients will be carried out of the air ambulance and rushed into the Emergency Department. Special double fences have also been erected around the helipad as ‘baffles’ to reduce noise pollution, and much of the site will be turfed with pinned grass covered with mesh overlay to act as a ‘soakaway’ to remove water from the helipad.
“We are deeply grateful to the HELP Appeal for its £500,000 donation, which has allowed us to construct the helipad directly behind our Emergency Department,” commented Trust Chief Executive Chris Long. “There is no doubt that having a helipad so close to our highly skilled major trauma team means we will be able to save more lives in situations where every second counts.”