Salisbury Foundation Trust

New helipad launches at Salisbury District Hospital

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust officially opened its new upgraded hospital landing site for air ambulances today. The helipad was funded by a £321,000 donation from the HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads. Senior executives from the Trust, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the HELP Appeal, and other stakeholders attended the event at which the charity’s Bell 429 helicopter and aircrew touched down.

Ian Robinson, Head of Facilities at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, and Chair of the Helipad Working Group, said: “Approximately 60 patients each year arrive at our hospital via helicopter. To ensure we provide this vital service for many years to come, a replacement of our helipad was urgently required.

“We have been successful in securing all the funding required for this work from the HELP Appeal charity and we are indebted to them for their continued support. This project represents a significant investment in our hospital, benefiting some of our most critically ill patients.”

After an extensive survey and tender process, contractors were commissioned and work began on the new helipad in January, and the site was closed. The helipad is reopening following successful test flights.

The new helipad, which is the third HELP Appeal funded helipad to open across the country this year, is larger in size, has been fitted with new lights to support night flights and signage, and meets all best practice and is compliant with latest Civil Aviation guidance. A weather station is being fitted to provide pilots with site specific weather information.

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “Patients have this incredible hospital, amazing medical teams and local air ambulances, so it’s only right that they have a state-of-the-art helipad too, that’s fit for purpose and able to accommodate the immediate landings and transfers of critically ill patients, any time of the day or night.  Thanks to our supporters we are able to fund this new helipad, which is going to make patient transfers easy, efficient, and expeditious.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance Safety and Ground Operations Manager Richard Miller adds: “We can’t thank the HELP Appeal enough for investing in the new helipad for the trauma centre at Salisbury District Hospital. This now ensures the helipad complies with the latest CAP1264 regulations (Standards for Helicopter Landing Areas at Hospitals), enabling ourselves and neighbouring air ambulance resources to safely convey patients to the Emergency Department on a regular basis.”

The Project Board leading this work includes membership from the HELP Appeal, Wiltshire Air Ambulance service and the Hampshire and IOW Air Ambulance service, with support from the HELP Appeal, aviation and healthcare stakeholders. This partnership will ensure that the new helipad will meet the needs of our patients and remains fit for purpose, for many years to come.

17 April 2024

Our staff at Salisbury District Hospital have long been well regarded for the quality of care and treatment they provide for our patients and for their innovation, commitment and professionalism. This has been recognised in a wide range of achievements and it is reflected in our award of NHS Foundation Trust status. This is afforded to hospitals that provide the highest standards of care.

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