HELP Appeal charity to fund new £250,000 helipad next to Ipswich Hospital’s emergency department

(L � R) Neil Berry, consultant anaesthetist at Ipswich Hospital; Vince Ogilvie from the hospital est

(L � R) Neil Berry, consultant anaesthetist at Ipswich Hospital; Vince Ogilvie from the hospital estates team; Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal; and Mandy Jordan, head of charity and fundraising at The Ipswich Hospital Charity.Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Archant

Critically ill patients flown to Ipswich Hospital will be able to get potentially life-saving treatment sooner when a new helipad is built closer to A&E.

HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to funding the construction of hospital helipads, has agreed to pay for the entire work, which will cost £250,000.

With planning permission from Ipswich Borough Council secured, the fresh ground level helipad is expected to be in operation by January 2018.

The existing facility is located at Copleston High School. Once an air ambulance lands there, it takes between 15 to 20 minutes to get patients to the hospital.

With the new helipad, which will be built next to the hospital’s emergency department, it will be considerably faster.

The development will also mean patients can be transferred from Ipswich Hospital to other specialist centres quicker.

Neil Berry, a consultant anaesthetist at Ipswich Hospital and the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said the time saved could be the difference between life and death for some patients.

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He said: “Trauma is a disease of time and every second is crucial when dealing with medical emergencies.

“There are occasions when it takes longer to transfer the patient from the helipad to the emergency unit in hospital, than it does to reach them at the site of the incident, so the minutes the new helipad at Ipswich Hospital will save could be the difference between life and death for many of our patients.

“I am extremely proud of the medical care that is provided by Ipswich hospital and the East Anglian Air ambulance and am delighted that the HELP Appeal has enabled us to further enhance our service by making the new helipad possible.”

With a larger size of 25m x 25m and built-in lighting, air ambulance helicopters will have the ability to land at the hospital in the dark for the first time.

In 2016/17, the East Anglian Air Ambulance delivered 47 patients to Ipswich hospital. This number is expected to rise once the new facility is in use.

Robert Bertram, chief executive of HELP Appeal said: “We go where we are needed most and Ipswich Hospital needed our help.

“When a patient suffers a major trauma or serious medical event, an additional lengthy transfer to hospital after landing in an air ambulance could seriously affect their chances of recovery.

“Building this new helipad just a short trolley push away from the hospital could dramatically improve their chances of recovery.”

Ipswich Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme said he was “hugely grateful” to the charity for the funding boost.

He added: “The new helipad will be a big step forward in delivering first-class care to our critically ill patients.”

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