Salisbury District Hospital

Salisbury District Hospital Unveils New Helipad Funded by Charity.

Salisbury District Hospital Unveils New Helipad

Salisbury District Hospital marked a significant milestone last week with the official opening of its brand-new helipad, upgrading on its previous one. This upgrade, funded entirely by a generous £321,000 donation from the HELP Appeal, will ensure faster and more efficient emergency care for critically ill patients in the region.

Help Appeal are a charity, specialised in funding the construction and improvement of helipads at hospitals around the country, they are the UK’s leading charity dedicated to this cause. The new helipad boasts several advancements over its predecessor. It’s larger in size, accommodating today’s modern air ambulances with greater ease. An upgraded lighting system has been included to ensure safe night-time landings, while improved signage enhances overall functionality.

A ceremony took place at Salisbury District Hospital to unveil the new helipad which was attended by senior representatives from Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance service, the HELP Appeal, and other key members of the project. A special highlight was the landing of a HELP Appeal Bell 429 helicopter with its aircrew, showcasing the new facility’s capabilities.

Salisbury District Hospital“Every year, approximately 60 patients arrive at our hospital by air ambulance,” said Ian Robinson, Head of Facilities at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the Helipad Working Group. “To guarantee this vital service continues for years to come, upgrading our helipad was essential.” Recognizing the HELP Appeal’s crucial role, Robinson expressed his sincere gratitude: “We’re incredibly grateful to the HELP Appeal for their unwavering support. Their generous funding has allowed us to make this significant investment in our hospital, directly benefiting our most critically ill patients.”

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, emphasised the importance of this project: “Patients at Salisbury District Hospital benefit from exceptional medical care, highly skilled air ambulance teams, and a first-rate hospital. This state-of-the-art helipad complements these strengths, facilitating the swift transfer of critically ill patients at any hour. Thanks to our amazing supporters, we’re proud to have funded this new facility, which will streamline patient transfers, saving valuable time in critical situations.”

Richard Miller, Safety and Ground Operations Manager at the Wiltshire Air Ambulance echoed the sentiment: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the HELP Appeal for investing in this new helipad for the Salisbury District Hospital trauma centre. This ensures the facility meets the latest CAP 1264 regulations, enabling us and neighbouring air ambulance services to safely transport patients directly to the Emergency Department, day or night.”

The project is a collaborative effort, with a dedicated Project Board including, the HELP Appeal, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the Hampshire and IOW Air Ambulance, and various aviation and healthcare stakeholders. This partnership guarantees that the new helipad not only meets the current needs of patients but remains well-equipped to serve the community for many years to come.

The facility adheres to all best practice guidelines and complies with the latest Civil Aviation Authority regulations. To further enhance operational efficiency, a weather station will soon be installed, providing pilots with real-time, on-site weather data for informed decision-making. The opening of this new helipad signifies a significant leap forward in emergency medical care provision at Salisbury District Hospital. With its enhanced capabilities and strategic location, the facility will play a vital role in saving lives and improving patient outcomes across the region.

Image credit: Salisbury Hospital

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