After an £850,000 donation from the HELP Appeal, Derriford Hospital in Plymouth was able to build a brand new helipad in June 2015. Four years on, it has seen 1700 landings. On average, that’s around eight landings per week.
Before the helipad was built, the hospital only had a grassy area for Devon and Cornwall’s air ambulances to land on beside A&E. But, as it could not accommodate larger search-and-rescue helicopters, their critically ill patients had to make potentially life-threatening secondary transfers by road from Plymouth Airport, which was due to close.
With its larger, night-lit helipad just a short trolley ride to the emergency department, Derriford hospital has been able to accommodate all air ambulances and search-and-rescue helicopters within its grounds, as well as landings throughout the night.
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal said:
“It is clinically proven that there are risks to air ambulance patients who, after landing in a helicopter, have to finish their journey with a potentially life-threatening secondary transfer to hospital by road ambulance. Having a helipad that accommodates larger aircraft and is located as close as possible to the emergency department, does save lives and improves a patient’s chances of recovery. That’s why we fund hospital helipads across the South West and beyond.”