Construction work begins on first-of-a-kind hospital helipad

Critically-ill patients to be more easily transferred to four Manchester hospitals

The new helipad has been funded through charitable donations and government cash

Construction work on the new state-of-the-art, £3.9m helipad at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) has begun and is set to benefit four major hospitals in the city centre.

The new helicopter landing site, being built on the roof of Grafton Street car park in Oxford Road, will enable critically-ill or injured babies, children and adults to be airlifted straight to four major MFT hospitals.

A high-level patient transfer corridor will connect the helipad landing site to Manchester Royal Infirmary, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital, and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.

The ease of access to these specialist services once the helipad is fully operational will allow our hospitals to save many more lives and increase the chances of a full, or improved level of, recovery for our patients

Each of the hospitals offers world-leading, specialist services which are not always available at other hospitals within the North West and, in some cases, the rest of the UK.

The construction of the helipad is expected to see an estimated 312 patients airlifted to the site each year.

Funding for the helipad was raised by MFT Charity’s Time Save Lives Appeal, which netted £3.9m in just 12 months.

The appeal was the focus of the charity’s fundraising, with individuals, businesses and community groups from across the North West all showing their support. This included a donation of £1.3m from the HELP Appeal and £1.1m from the government’s LIBOR fines funds announced in the Chancellor’s Budget. <.p>

Building work officially began last month and the helipad is set to be fully operational by spring next year.

Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “This is one of the biggest donations that the HELP Appeal has given to any hospital.

“But we didn’t hesitate in coming to their aid because, as the major trauma centre for the North West, a life-saving helipad is essential.”

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Chairman, Kathy Cowell, added: “It is a very-exciting time for MFT and the helipad is an amazing project which will help to save so many lives in Greater Manchester, the North West and beyond.”

The first 60 minutes following a major trauma injury is known as the ‘Golden Hour’ and prompt treatment can mean the difference between life and death.

Dr Jon Simpson, medical director and consultant physician at Manchester Royal Infirmary, said: “The quality and speed of specialist medical care following a major trauma injury is vital to ensuring our patients have the best chance of a full recovery.

It is a very-exciting time for MFT and the helipad is an amazing project which will help to save so many lives in Greater Manchester, the North West and beyond

“In these situations, patients need to be transferred to a major trauma centre or an emergency department, both of which we have on site.

“The construction of the helipad will be invaluable to us and our patients as, in some situations; the quickest or most-appropriate way to get a patient to these services is by helicopter.

“The ease of access to these specialist services once the helipad is fully operational will allow our hospitals to save many more lives and increase the chances of a full, or improved level of, recovery for our patients.”

The 130m-long bridge between Grafton Street car park and MFT hospitals will be suspended 19m above street level, with direct access to hospital facilities such as 24-hour emergency departments, the major trauma centre for children, and a 24-hour high dependency obstetrics unit.

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