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A life-saving helipad which will allow medics to transfer critically-ill patients into Ipswich Hospital’s emergency department (ED) quickly and smoothly has welcomed its first air ambulance.
The £250,000 facility has been constructed next to the ED and opened today (11 June). It has been paid for by the HELP Appeal, which is the only charity in the country dedicated to funding the construction and upgrade of hospital helipads.
The new facility will allow hospital and ambulance teams to quickly transfer critically ill patients into the hospital, or to other specialist centres. Previously, it took between 15 and 20 minutes to reach the ED from the hospital’s old helipad, which was at the back of the field at Copleston High School.
The helipad also has built-in lighting, which means that helicopters can land at any time or day or night for the first time.
Nick Hulme, chief executive of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said: “This is a story about what can happen when we all work together. The idea for the new helipad came from one of our clinicians, Dr Neil Berry, who is also a flying doctor working for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA). Our estates team and charity teams worked together with the HELP Appeal and thanks to their generous support, we have a new helipad.”
Dr Berry, consultant anaesthetist at Ipswich Hospital and EAAA, said: “We are delighted that our new helipad is now up and running. It will allow us to transfer seriously ill patients much more quickly, in turn offering them the best possible chance of survival and recovery.
“Every second is crucial when dealing with medical emergencies. In the past, there have been occasions when its has taken longer to transfer the patient from the helipad to the ED than it did to reach them at the site of the incident, so the minutes the new helipad will save could be the difference between life and death.
“I am extremely proud of the medical care which is provided by the hospital and the EAAA, and am hugely grateful to the HELP Appeal for enabling us to further enhance our services by making this new helipad possible.”
Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal said: “We go where we are needed most, and Ipswich Hospital needed our help. When a patient suffers a major trauma or serious medical emergency, a dangerous clock starts ticking, and it’s vital they receive expert care immediately. A short trolley push to the emergency department or lengthy transfer to hospital after landing in an air ambulance could mean the difference between life and death.”
Matthew Jones, director of operations at EAAA, said: “We are delighted to assist Ipswich Hospital with the launch of their new helipad. The helipad will substantially benefit patients who are airlifted to the hospital, as the time taken to transfer to the Emergency Department is significantly decreased thereby providing additional life-saving minutes.
“We can also now deliver patients to the hospital in the hours of darkness which will give our crews more options and save precious minutes when treating a patient with life-threatening or life-changing injuries or illnesses. I would like to say a big thank you, on behalf of EAAA and all our patients, to the HELP Appeal and to Ipswich Hospital who have made the construction of this new helipad possible.”