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UK – Rooftop helipad planned for Manchester hospitals

September 23, 2015

As part of National Air Ambulance Week (21-27 September) Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity (CMFT Charity) launches its new £3.9 million Charity Appeal to build a dedicated helipad on site at the Trust.

Using the strapline, ‘Time Saves Lives’, the Helipad Appeal will enable the creation of a brand-new 24-hour access primary helicopter landing site, the first of its kind in central Manchester. This will allow the Trust to save many more lives and will increase the chances of a full or improved level of recovery in a great many seriously ill or injured patients.

Located on the roof of the new multi-storey car park on Grafton Street, the helipad will be connected to the hospitals by a high-level link bridge and roof top corridor.

Four of the Trust’s eight hospitals are based on the central Manchester site including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Saint Mary’s Hospital. As a whole, the hospitals see over one million patients each year, looking after patients from birth to the end of life, from across the whole of the North West, and often beyond.

Each of the hospitals offers internationally recognised specialist services for critically ill patients. Manchester Royal Infirmary and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital are also members of the Greater Manchester Major Trauma Centre Network. This means the hospitals provide rapid access to treatment and rehabilitation for adults, children and babies following a life threatening or life changing physical injury. Despite the range of specialisms the hospital site is without its own designated helipad.

Currently, the Trust relies upon a secondary landing site in a nearby park an arrangement which means that patients initially transported by air ambulance must then be transferred the final mile of their journey by land ambulance. This second transfer, often undertaken on muddy or uneven ground, significantly adds to the risk of complication, particularly in children, due to additional handling of the patient. A secondary transfer also adds precious minutes to the overall transfer time with every moment’s delay greatly increasing the risk to life.

Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager at the North West Air Ambulance knows only too well the benefits an onsite landing would have:

“Few hospitals have helipads and so we regularly have to resort to using designated secondary sites which adds further journey time in cases of major trauma when every minute counts.

We are fully in support of a helipad at Central Manchester Hospitals; it will make a significant difference to the survival and early recovery of patients across the North West.”

Peter-Marc Fortune, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist and Associate Clinical Head at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Director of Resuscitation & Simulation Service – CMFT, agrees:

“Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital is the biggest, busiest and I would argue best, children’s hospital in the UK. However, sometimes when a child is critically ill, time is against us. Every minute that passes reduces our ability to intervene to maximise their chance of a good outcome. This helipad can save those precious minutes and allow us to make a difference which for those children lasts a lifetime.”

Central Manchester Foundation Trust Charity launched their Helipad Appeal by staging a photo with a difference. To represent the large number of people involved in the transfer and subsequent care of major trauma patients, and the care of those who benefit from the site’s specialisms, around 70 key players gathered to form the shape of an ‘H’ – the markings of a helipad. From trauma and transplant consultants, paramedics and air ambulance pilots, to porters and other vital hospital staff, all came together to show their support for the Appeal.

With thanks to www.helihub.com

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