St George's Hospital helipad is taking off

Close to 200 patients flown into hospital in first year of operation

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal has marked the first anniversary of its helipad.

A total of 192 patients have been air lifted directly to St George’s since the helipad was officially opened by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, last year.

The majority of the patients brought to St George’s via air ambulance have been involved in road traffic accidents, but seriously-ill patients have also used the facility, including a child who suffered severe head trauma after being hit by a falling telegraph pole.

Having a helipad can dramatically reduce the amount of time critically-ill patients have to travel before receiving the expert care they so desperately need.

The St George’s helipad received its first stroke patient transfer in March this year. The patient was not responding to treatment at another hospital and it was decided that he needed an urgent thrombectomy - removal of a blood clot from a vessel. By airlifting him to St George’s his transfer time was reduced from one hour 27 minutes to 30 minutes. This speed will have undoubtedly contributed to his successful discharge.

The County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal is a charity which 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: “The HELP Appeal’s £1m donation to the helipad’s construction has made such a difference to a huge number of critically-ill patients living south of the river Thames and further afield.

“Time between incident and treatment in some injuries is critical. Minutes stuck in London traffic can worsen conditions and, in some cases, cost lives. Every minute counts. With a fully-functioning helipad, patients now land directly on the hospital roof and are brought immediately to the emergency department for the expert care they urgently need.”

There is little doubt that the ability to fly a critically-injured patient directly to a major trauma centre has made a difference to patient outcomes

Leila Razavi, assistant general manager for St George’s major trauma centre, added: "St George’s helipad opened exactly a year ago today, becoming the second medical helipad in London. The addition of the helipad has enabled St George’s to extend its reach, helping to treat severely-injured patients from South West London, Surrey and beyond.

“In its first year the St George’s helipad has received 192 patients. This included the first-ever stroke patient transfer where the air ambulance journey took just 30 minutes to cover the 60 miles from Ashford to the rooftop helipad at St Georges, a journey that would have taken well over an hour by road.

“There is little doubt that the ability to fly a critically-injured patient directly to a major trauma centre has made a difference to patient outcomes. The avoidance of a lengthy road transfer reduces the time it takes to get these patients to the expert care they so desperately need.”

And Leigh Curtis, director of operations for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, said: “We landed on the helipad the very first day it opened and since that time the ability to deliver our patients fast and direct to the world-class services offered by St Georges has had a significant impact on reducing the time from injury to definitive treatment for our patients.”

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