Hospital set to get helipad

By Liz HearnshawA HELIPAD is to be built that could help save patients' lives by shaving vital seconds off their journey to hospital.The landing spot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance will be created at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, so paramedics can get patients into the building faster and with greater ease.

By Liz Hearnshaw

A HELIPAD is to be built that could help save patients' lives by shaving vital seconds off their journey to hospital.

The landing spot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance will be created at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, so paramedics can get patients into the building faster and with greater ease.

Medics currently have to wheel trolleys across grassland at Hardwick Heath to get patients to the accident and emergency department.


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In wet weather, the route can be muddy, meaning more time has to be dedicated to negotiating the treacherous path.

Steve Whitby, acting general manager of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “The need for a helipad came to light when we started transporting patients and were landing them on a football pitch next to the hospital.

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“From there, they were transferred across to the hospital over the heathland. It was not ideal to manoeuvre people on trolleys across the grass.”

He added: “The idea is to have a dedicated asphalt pathway from the helipad into the hospital.

“If we are dealing with critically ill people, this will obviously make for a smoother transfer into the hospital, which is vital from an ambulance perspective.

“It will also help that we will be landing on a purpose-built spot, so we do not have to check out the area before we land, which may save vital seconds.”

St Edmundsbury Borough Council hads granted planning permission for the project, which it is thought will cost about £25,000.

“We are very anxious to get the work under way as soon as possible as this is a valuable asset,” said Mr Whitby.

“We see helipads as a definite need for the future and although there are a number of hospitals around the area which do have them, equally there are some which do not - including Addenbrooke's in Cambridge.”

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said: “The helipad will allow crews to get people into accident and emergency as quickly as possible and those 30 seconds could make a difference to somebody who is critically ill.”

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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