06 May 2014
Helideck opens tomorrow (7 May)
Air ambulance providers from across the region have spent the
last few weeks undergoing orientation test flight for the new
helideck on the roof of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). The last
test flight finishes today (Tuesday 6 May) ahead of the helideck
opening for service tomorrow (7 May).
The construction of the £3 million helideck is part of a wider
programme of redevelopment and refurbishment currently underway
across the BRI by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
(UH Bristol). The helideck opening will coincide with the transfer
of specialist children's services, including burns, neurosurgery,
plastic, orthopaedic and emergency services, from Frenchay Hospital
to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children on Wednesday.
The 25 x 25 metre aluminium helideck connects directly to
services within the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children as well as
the adult Emergency Department at Bristol Royal Infirmary. The
Bristol Heart Institute will also receive patients transferred by
helicopter for cardiac treatment.
Philip Cowburn, consultant in emergency medicine, said: "The new
helideck will enable patients to be transferred rapidly and
efficiently to specialist services in our hospitals from across the
South West and will increase their chance of survival and a good
recovery. It will support UH Bristol to fulfil its role as the
Paediatric Major Trauma Centre for the South West and the Regional
Centre for Primary Angioplasty [emergency treatment for a heart
A grant of £500,000 was provided by the HELP (Helicopter
Emergency Landing Pads) Appeal to support the construction of the
Robert Bertram, the charity's chief executive,
said: "We are delighted to have supported the construction of this
new helipad at Bristol Royal Infirmary, which is one of only a few
hospital rooftop helipads in the UK. I would like to thank all of
those people who continue to give money to this important
"Our dream is that every major hospital across the
country has access to a life-saving helipad, but we can't make
these a reality without your support and donations."
A total of six air ambulance providers in the
region will use the helideck to transport seriously ill and injured
patients to hospital.
One provider, the Great Western Air Ambulance charity, is
raising funds to replace its Bolkow 105 helicopter with a newer and
larger Eurocopter 135. John Christensen, chief executive of the
charity, says: "It is critically important that we upgrade our
helicopter to be able to get our patients to the most appropriate
hospital for their needs and continue offering a high standard of
care for the people of the region that we serve. We need to raise
an extra £500,000 every year to be able to operate a modern EC 135.
We hope to be able to make this vital move by the end of
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