Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee has approved plans for a £1m helipad, funded by the HELP Appeal, to be built at Aintree University Hospital’s £35m Urgent Care and Trauma Centre.
Doctors at the regional major trauma centre, which brings together Aintree with neuro-surgery specialists at neighbouring The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, have welcomed the decision as saving ‘vital minutes’, and thanked HELP Appeal for funding the project.
The HELP Appeal is run by the County Air Ambulance Trust, that works to identify where helipads or base infrastructure are needed the most and offer assistance throughout the project, including feasibility studies. As the only charity in the UK dedicated to hospital helipads, they rely entirely on individual and organisational donations to provide the funding required.
Mrs Sharon Scott, Clinical Director for Major Trauma at Aintree, said, “Every minute counts with major trauma and it is vital that emergency patients receive treatment as soon as possible, to increase their chances of survival and recovery. Currently, air ambulances land on the Lower Lane playing fields, but it can take as long as 30 minutes to transfer a critical patient to an ambulance and then onto our Urgent Care and Trauma Centre. With the new helipad, this will take just a few minutes, which are vital for these patients.”
Ms Catherine McMahon, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre, added, “We already have some of the best outcomes for major trauma patients in the country, but the new helipad will allow us to offer even faster treatment. The sooner we start treating a patient, the more likely they are to survive and avoid serious disability. All of the clinicians are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the HELP Appeal. Their donation will make a real difference to the lives of trauma patients and their families.”
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, which is funding the project, said, “We are delighted that Liverpool’s Aintree University Hospital has been given the green light to proceed with the delivery of a brand new onsite helipad that will serve patients across the North West. Just a few minutes saved can make all the difference to the survival and recovery of a patient in critical care. Patients will land directly adjacent to the Emergency Department, ensuring they can be quickly transported for the expert care they urgently need.
“We believe every hospital should have access to an onsite helipad, and we are committed to making this a reality across the country. Since 2009, we have already helped to fund 16 hospital helipads across the UK, and plan to provide a further 20 over the next few years.”
The approval is subject to several conditions, including an undertaking to install acoustic measures to reduce noise in some neighbouring properties.
The new helipad will be fully operational in Spring 2017.