St George's Healthcare NHS Trust has been granted formal planning permission to develop a helipad at St George's Hospital in Tooting. It will be only the second hospital helipad in London and the first south of the river. The development will be partly funded through a grant of £1million from the County Air Ambulance Trust HELP (Helicopter Emergency Landing Pad) Appeal.
The facility will be built on the rooftop of St James Wing, with direct lift access to the hospital's state-of-the-art accident and emergency department. It will support air ambulances bringing the most seriously injured casualties for emergency treatment at the hospital, which provides the Major Trauma Centre for the South West London and Surrey Trauma Network.
The helipad will also dramatically increase the number of emergencies that the Air Ambulance Services can attend across the region.
Heather Jarman, clinical director for major trauma at St George's, said: "We are at a pivotal time in the development of trauma care systems. With the emergence of Major Trauma Centres and rapid transfers, patients are getting the life-saving care they need, quicker than ever before. Helicopters are essential to the success of these systems. The helipad at St George's Hospital will be only the second in London - a crucial addition to the healthcare infrastructure in the capital and the wider system.
For a patient with life-threatening injuries, the key to improving their chance of survival is to get them as quickly as possible to a Major Trauma Centre.
"The trust is very grateful to the HELP Appeal for the support they are providing to ensure that this vital development is up and running in 2013."
Robert Bertram, charity director at County Air Ambulance Trust, said: "This is our third helipad project in England and we are delighted that the HELP Appeal is able to assist St George's Hospital. The new onsite helipad will help to save the lives of many patients across South West London and Surrey.
"We rely solely on charitable donations and do not receive any financial support from the Government or the National Lottery so we're urging people and businesses to get behind the appeal and donate whatever they can. You never know when you or one of your loved ones may need this vital service. Your donations will help to save many lives."
Building work for the helipad, which will cost £4million in total, is scheduled to commence in December 2012 and it could be operational by summer 2013.