Cheltenham Surfacing helps Air Ambulance return

Gloucestershire firm Cheltenham Surfacing have recently completed a prestigious project to extend the helipad at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, that brings the facility back into use and means air ambulances can once again get patients to the hospital.

The hospital helipad closed in April 2011 due to the construction of a new multi-storey car par park and changes to Civil Aviation Authority regulations.

We were delighted and honoured to have been chosen to work on such a significant project. Our day to day work is mainly driveways, roads and car parks, so to be able to apply our skills and expertise to something as novel and as important as this is really great.

Barry Taylor from Cheltenham Surfacing

The project to extend the helipad and bring it back into use was funded by the Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads Appeal (which is part of the County Air Ambulance Trust) and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Commenting on the re-opening of the helipad, Maggie Arnold, Emergency Care Programme Director at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, said;

We are delighted to see the helipad re-open. Air ambulances can be an effective way of getting faster access to hospitals and are enormously valuable in transferring patients from rural areas of the county or where road access is difficult. Helicopter transport enables the ill or injured to reach expert care in A&E sooner, giving them the best possible chance of surviving.

Maggie Arnold, Emergency Care Programme Director

Now that the helipad has been re-opened, critically ill and injured patients in need of emergency treatment can be transferred by air ambulance directly to the hospital helipad which is on the doorstep of the A&E department – significantly reducing secondary transfer times and saving lives. In an emergency every second of every minute of every hour counts and when the clock starts ticking off the minutes of the ‘Golden Hour’, the difference between life and death is often a fast flying helicopter with appropriate landing facilities.

The re-opening of the helipad also means that critical care to critical care transfers – where patients are transferred from one hospital to another for specialist treatment – will be made quicker a safer as patients can be flown directly to and from Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

This project is unique in the fact that a facility was already in place but it was unable to be used due to new CAA rules. It was extremely important to us and everyone involved that the helipad became operational again, and we’re delighted to see it back in action. Being able to fly directly to the A&E department will make a huge difference for patients across Gloucestershire.

Robert Bertram, charity director at County Air Ambulance Trust