A new helipad at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) is now open, thanks to a £1m donation from the HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country dedicated to funding NHS hospital helipads.
The hospital’s previous helipad was unable to receive night landings, but the new helipad is equipped with lighting so air ambulances will be able to land during darkness hours. The new helipad, which has been built on the same location as the previous one, has also been enlarged to enable the latest generation of air ambulances to land. These bigger aircraft are vital in an emergency, as they are faster, can carry more medical equipment and another medic or a relative of a critically ill patient.
As air ambulances are now able to land at night, it is expected that the new helipad will also benefit from air ambulance transfers out to Major Trauma Centres, including those at Plymouth, Southampton and Bristol, all of which have 24-hour operating helipads funded by the HELP Appeal.
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, said, “The team at the RD&E have been working tirelessly to ensure that the helipad is ready as soon as possible, giving critically ill patients the best possible chance of survival, by being able to directly access the Emergency Department immediately after landing.
“The new helipad will enable the brilliant NHS medical teams at the RD&E to receive and treat many more critically ill patients from across Devon and further afield. I would like to thank the generosity of the general public, without whose help we could not have made this new helipad possible.”
Lewis Jones, Consultant Emergency Physician at the RD&E, said, “We are incredibly grateful to the HELP Appeal for funding this facility and making the funds available so quickly to allow us to complete this vital work. This helipad will make a great deal of difference to the patients arriving and leaving the hospital by air, and also the flight crews from Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT ) caring for them, as it will allow the crew to transfer their patients more effectively than before. The night flight activity will also allow us to deliver emergency care to the appropriate patients around the clock.”