Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has today submitted a planning application to Aylesbury and Vale District council for a helipad at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
The hospital is home to the National Spinal Injuries Centre and the helipad is being funded by a £1m donation from the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal. The grant will fund its entire design and construction.
Pending council and trust board approval, the new helipad is planned to be opened in January 2016 and will be elevated over the main visitor carpark, located beside the hospital’s emergency department. New LED lighting will also illuminate the entire helipad, allowing for patients to land at night.
The County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal is a charity that aims to deliver helicopter landing pads at all major trauma centres and key A&E hospitals across England and Scotland.
Chief executive, Robert Bertram, said: “Air ambulances currently have no other option but to land in a field close to Stoke Mandeville hospital. After a patient suffering from a major trauma, including those with spinal injuries lands, they need an additional transfer in an ambulance, which could seriously affect their chances of recovery.
“If a patient with a broken back gets hospital treatment within four hours of the accident, their chances of walking out of the hospital increase dramatically. Building a helipad significantly closer to the hospital’s world-class consultants could really help in this process, as the patient can then be admitted straight from the helicopter, rather than still being an ambulance ride away.”
Stuart Blagg, consultant spinal surgeon at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, added: “A new, well-lit helipad that can cope with seriously injured patients and those with other life threatening conditions flying in from across the UK will be of great benefit to patients accessing our care.
“The National Spinal Injuries Centre treats around 150 major spinal injury patients from across the country. Getting patients to us faster and without another ambulance involved will improve the care we can give to our most-injured patients.”
And Mark McGeown of Thames Valley Ambulance (TVAA), said: “We have airlifted patients from across the region to Stoke Mandeville’s existing helipad over the past 15 years. Time from incident to hospital is a crucial factor in ensuring the best-possible outcomes for patients suffering major trauma and the new helipad will mean a shorter journey to the point of definitive, life-saving care.”