A helipad at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool has helped to provide life-saving care to over 600 critically ill people across Cheshire and Merseyside.
Since opening in 2017 the £1m helipad at the hospital, which is home to the region’s Major Trauma Centre, has seen 685 landings from the North West Air Ambulance Charity and Wales Air Ambulance. On average, that’s around two landings every week.
Funded entirely by the HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to funding NHS hospital helipads, the onsite helipad received its first patient in July 2017. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales (then the Duke of Cambridge) paid a visit to the helipad when he formally opened the Urgent Care and Trauma Centre at Aintree.
Since then, the region’s most seriously ill patients have been able to access the hospital’s Emergency Department and specialist trauma services in just a few seconds after landing in an air ambulance. Aintree Hospital is the single receiving site for adult major trauma patients in Cheshire, Merseyside and the Isle of Man.
Of the 685 landings, 40% of the trauma cases were as a result of a Road Traffic Collision (RTC). Emma Mountford, a dental nurse from Stoke-on-Trent, suffered complex injuries to her chest and pelvis in 2017 when a driver lost control of his car and drove on top of the mum-of-two whilst she was enjoying a picnic with her daughter, Lily.
The decision was made to transfer Emma via North West Air Ambulance Charity helicopter to Aintree so that she could be quickly admitted for life-saving surgery. Emma remained in the hospital’s High Dependency Unit for 10 days before being transferred to Royal Stoke University Hospital, which was closer to the family home.
“The care I received was simply amazing. Everyone who was involved in my journey – I can’t thank them enough. The staff at Aintree’s Major Trauma Centre saved my life. Working in the NHS, you never think it will happen to yourself. I’m forever grateful.”
Before the helipad was built, patients arriving by air ambulance had to land at a nearby playing field before being transported to the hospital by road ambulance, which could take up to 30 minutes.
Dr Peter Turkington, Executive Managing Director at Aintree University Hospital, said:
“It’s incredible that we’ve been able to help care for over 600 patients arriving via our helipad, many who will have gone on to receive life-saving treatment within minutes of landing. Before the helipad opened air ambulances arriving at Aintree landed on a nearby playing field and patients were transferred via road ambulance, extending the time before they received specialist care. Every second counts when you’re caring for seriously ill patients with critical injuries and it’s vital that we can admit them to our expert teams in major trauma as quickly as possible. I’d like to thank the HELP Appeal for their continued support in making this happen.”
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “The HELP Appeal has a very special relationship with Liverpool which started with the funding of this lifesaving helipad. As air ambulance patients’ injuries and illnesses are so severe, every second counts in getting them to the hospital for lifesaving treatment. We are so proud that the HELP Appeal’s donation has enabled Aintree Hospital to treat the most seriously ill patients 30 minutes faster.”
The HELP Appeal has funded 45 NHS hospital helipads across the country, which have seen over 25,000 landings.