HELP Appeal donates £1m to Manchester hospital helipad appeal

Cash brings new rooftop helipad a step closer

The HELP Appeal - the only charity in the country dedicated to delivering helicopter landing pads at all major trauma centres and key A&E hospitals across England and Scotland - has pledged £1m to Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) Charity’s new helipad appeal.

A huge kickstart to its fundraising campaign, the donation amounts to over a quarter of the total funds needed.

HELP Appeal chief executive, Robert Bertram, said: “Central Manchester has world-class hospitals and air ambulance service, now it urgently needs a helipad to complete the emergency care triangle.

Having a helipad on the hospital site will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for a seriously-ill patient to get to the expert care they urgently need. The quicker they can see a consultant, the better chance of survival and making a full recovery.

“Knowing that the HELP Appeal’s £1m donation will bring the CMFT Charity’s Helipad Appeal significantly closer to its goal is fantastic.”

Using the strapline, Time Saves Lives, CMFT Charity’s Helipad Appeal will enable the creation of a brand-new 24-hour-access primary helicopter landing site, the first of its kind in central Manchester. This will allow the trust to save many more lives and will increase the chances of a full or improved level of recovery in a great many seriously-ill or injured patients.

Located on the roof of the new multi-storey car park in Grafton Street, the helipad will be connected to the hospitals by a high-level link bridge and rooftop corridor.

Currently the hospitals on the central site, including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary, and St Mary’s Hospital, rely on a secondary landing site in a nearby park. This arrangement means that patients initially transported by air ambulance must then be transferred the final mile of their journey by land ambulance. This second transfer, often undertaken on muddy or uneven ground, significantly adds to the risk of complications, particularly in children, due to additional handling of the patient. A secondary transfer also adds precious minutes to the overall transfer tim, with every moment’s delay greatly increasing the risk to life. When an adult or child suffers a major trauma, the speed with which they can get specialist medical help can be the difference between life and death or between recovering and recovering well. The first 60 minutes following a major trauma or severe injury is known as the ‘Golden Hour’. Fast access to specialist treatment is vital to give patients the best chance possible.

Coinciding with the HELP Appeal’s donation is the launch of the charity’s official appeal video. The seven-and-a-half minute film features interviews with two families who know first hand the benefits an on-site landing pad would have. Newborn Jeremiah Oderinde was airlifted from St Mary’s Hospital for life-saving ventilation treatment last Christmas. Thankfully Jeremiah is now a happy and healthy baby boy. However, the newborn’s transfer would have been much quicker, and his chance of survival would likely have been much increased if there was a landing pad onsite at the trust.

And 17-year old Danielle Rigby was a patient of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital last year after being involved in a road traffic accident in her hometown of Bolton. Suffering a near-fatal arterial bleed on the brain, she was airlifted to the children’s hospital via parkland one mile away from the hospital. An onsite helipad would have meant she would have arrived at the hospital much sooner and would not have experienced a risky and uncomfortable secondary transfer.

Also included in the appeal film is CGI footage which visualises the landing pad on top of the car park, as well as the link bridge and corridor to the hospitals.

Maurice Watkins CBE, chairman of Central Manchester Foundation Trust’s Charitable Fundraising Board, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the very generous donation from the HELP Appeal. Its support means that the charity now has £2.4m to raise over the next year.

Donations small or large will all make a substantial difference to our aim of building a 24-hour-access helipad. Currently the hospitals cannot receive patients by air ambulance at night. This helipad will make a real difference to major trauma patients and those in need of specialist treatments, from across the whole of the North West and at all times of the day. “

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