King College Hospital helipad in London, UK, is to be operational 24/7, allowing patients to be transferred both day and night to the facility in addition to road ambulance transfers – a move which will save up to 90 minutes in transfer time for patients on the Kent coast.
King's Cranio, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Clinical Director for the South East London Kent and Medway Major Trauma Network, Mr Rob Bentley, said: "We have carefully tracked patient numbers since the helipad opened over two years ago and we anticipate up to two night-time landings per week as a result of this development. These are patients whose transfer to King’s may have taken up to two hours previously."
The costs of the extended service will be covered by Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex and this new development makes the hospital the first Major Trauma Centre in London to be granted permission for air ambulances to land at night as well as daytime hours. Currently, and since opening October in 2016, the helipad operates between the hours of 07:00 hrs and 21:00 hrs, but following engagement with local residents and Lambeth council, this will soon change. The exact date is yet to be confirmed.
"This is a significant move forward and fantastic news for the patients we serve,” Bentley said. “People requiring trauma care in Kent and Medway will now have the same access to highly specialised, timely treatment as those in London, which can be the difference between life and death.