Major Upgrade to Raigmore’s Life-Saving Helipad

A programme of work to upgrade the helipad at Raigmore Hospital has now been successfully completed with the helipad now fully operational and equipped to meet increasing demands.

With over 500 flights each year, it’s a common sight to see helicopters arriving and taking off from the helipad based at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. The upgrade to the current landing site will allow the helipad to meet the increasing demands due for larger and more frequent aircraft use as well as new standards such as landing lights and helipad size.

At a cost of just under £600,000, the upgrade was only possible thanks to two charitable donations. A financial grant of £480,000 was offered to NHS Highland from the HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads and just under £120,000 was received from the Highland Health Board Endowment Fund.

Major Upgrade to Raigmore’s Life-Saving Helipad

Dr Andrew Rowlands, a consultant in emergency medicine and clinical lead for the Emergency Department, explained that the helicopter is an essential feature for Raigmore and NHS Highland and the investment into upgrading the helipad will benefit the entire population.

He said: “The helipad at Raigmore Hospital serves as an essential time and life-saving facility on which the entire population of the Highlands and Islands may depend, not only due to the enormous area served by NHS Highland but also the distance covered and the remote locations.

“The upgrade to the helipad will ensure that what we have on site is fit for the future, the difference between what we had and what we have now is quite impressive. I am very grateful for these donations as we wouldn’t have been able to upgrade it without them.”

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal said:

“This is the charity’s first completed helipad project for 2019. I am delighted that the helipad has been upgraded and is now fit for purpose to receive patients from across the region. We look forward to funding the build and modernisation of many more hospital helipads across Scotland.”

Ann Pascoe, non-executive director to the board and chair of the Endowment Committee, said:

“As trustees, the bottom line for us is that any successful application must clearly demonstrate patient benefit.  In this case, the criteria were fulfilled not only from a Raigmore perspective but also for those rural patients who have cause to use the hospital. I am delighted that we were in a position to fund the helipad application.”