New helipads could speed up treatment of major trauma patients from Sussex

Building work has started on a new hospital helipad in a move expected to benefit hundreds of critically injured patients a year from Sussex.

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King’s College Hospital in London, previously featured in Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E, will boast the city’s third helipad serving 5.5 million people across the South East.

The multi-million pound landing site will speed up the time it takes Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance to transfer patients to the Major Trauma Centre.

The air ambulance’s two helicopters currently land in a nearby park where patients are then transferred to King’s by road but the new heli-pad will be built on top of the hospital.

The cost of the new facility is being met in part by charitable donations from the County Air Ambulance Trust’s HELP (Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads) Appeal, as well as donations from fundraisers who supported the helipad’s Time is Life fundraising appeal.  King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has also committed capital monies to the project.

Last year, Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance crews took 344 patients to King’s.  The charity also transfers patients to St George’s Hospital in Tooting and the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, which both have rooftop helipads.

Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton

Aerial view of what the new Royal Sussex County Hospital redevelopment will look like

Aerial view of what the new Royal Sussex County Hospital redevelopment will look like

There are plans to build a helipad at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton as part of the hospital redevelopment.  Funding for the £420 million project  was announced last May, with worked scheduled to begin in Autumn 2015.   Subject to planning permission, the helipad will be located on the highest point of the hospital to minimise the noise for patients, staff and local residents.

The helipad is also useful if seriously ill patients need rapid transfers between two hospitals.  The development of trauma centres have been shown to save lives and to reduce the long-term effects and impacts of major injuries.

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, said:

We are delighted to see work starting on the new Helipad at King’s and pleased that the HELP Appeal has been able to make donations of £2 million to help make the project possible.

When a critical injury or accident takes place, every second is vital.  The new helipad will help to ensure that patients get the fastest access to the often life-saving treatment they require.  It will save many lives.

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