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NHS Lothian’s new helipad, supported by the HELP Appeal has lift off


NHS Lothian and the HELP Appeal is celebrating an important milestone as the new helipad located at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and the Department of Clinical Neuroscience (RHCYP/DCN) officially opens.

The helipad, located above the fourth floor of the RHCYP/DCN, will serve both the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the RHCYP/DCN, giving direct access to child and adult emergency departments as well as all other clinical departments based on Edinburgh BioQuarter.

Hospital helipads play a critical role in trauma care by helping to minimise the time it takes to transfer critically ill patients. Without them, patient treatment can be delayed, which can have a devastating impact on survival rates.

Dr Jon McCormack, Clinical Lead for Paediatric Major Trauma, NHS Lothian explained that having access to a helipad plays an important role in optimising patient flow pathways for both planned and emergency transfers.

He said, ” The helipad will provide access to hospital services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with three trained helideck responders being available to ensure safe landing and departure. This will help to enhance patient care by facilitating a seamless transition of patients from the air ambulance to in-patient services.”

The helipad was part funded through the HELP Appeal, which aims to ensure that patients who sustain life threatening critical injuries or illnesses are able to be flown directly by air ambulance to a Major Trauma Centre or key A&E hospital, where all the specialist clinical skills and medical equipment are immediately available, improving their chances of survival and recovery. The HELP Appeal is the only charity in the country funding hospital helipads.

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal said, ” The amazing RHCYP, DCN and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh treat some of the most seriously ill in Scotland. This lifesaving helipad will dramatically speed up the time it takes to transfer these patients from helicopter to hospital anytime of the day or night, giving them the best chance of survival and recovery.

“We had no hesitation in providing the £700,000 needed to ensure the hospitals had a state-of-the-art helipad – a crucial element in their emergency care offering – as it will save many lives.

“With brand new helipads opening in Applecross and Campbeltown, and the helipad opening in Edinburgh today, we are so pleased that the HELP Appeal is making a positive impact in emergency care across Scotland. We look forward to helping many more hospitals secure helipads in the future.”

Jim Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Lothian said, ” We are incredibly grateful for the support of the HELP Appeal in part-funding our new helipad. It really will make a positive difference to our patients and will no doubt save many lives not just here in Lothian, but across Scotland.”