Work to replace the old helipad at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is well underway, thanks to the cost being totally funded with a £1million grant from the HELP Appeal– the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads. It is anticipated that the new helipad is set to open by January 2020.
The HELP Appeal’s Chief Executive visited the helipad site on 25 September, to see the progress being made on its development and to present the second £250,000 instalment to the hospital.
The helipad cannot support night landings currently, meaning that its day light operation is limited, especially throughout the winter months. With the integration of lighting, air ambulances will be able to land around the clock. The upgraded helipad is also being extended to enable larger helicopters to land in the daytime.
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal said: “As the days become shorter, lighting on the helipad cannot come soon enough. It’s great that during the darkest days of winter, the helipad will be up and running to allow air ambulances with seriously ill patients to land anytime of the day and night, enabling them to have immediate access to consultant care. Now that the hospital can truly accommodate a 24 / 7 Helicopter Emergency Medical Service – more lives will be saved.”
Em Wilkinson-Brice, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse at the RD&E said: “We are extremely grateful to the HELP Appeal for their significant donation to upgrade our helipad. This upgrade will make a huge difference to our local population and patients at the RD&E.”
Richard Crosthwaite-Eyre, ED Consultant & Trust Lead for Major Trauma, said: “Thanks to the HELP Appeal, our ambition to build a new helipad will soon be a reality. This means that patients with serious or life-threatening conditions or injuries will be able to get to the Emergency Department even faster, day or night, and get the medical attention they need to really make a difference.”
The HELP Appeal relies solely on charitable donations and does not receive any government funding or money from the National Lottery. For more information on the charity visit www.helpappeal.org.uk or call 0800 3898 999.