Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rockhampton Hospital Redevelopment Must Include Helicopter Landing Pad

Rockhampton Hospital has recently undergone an extensive redevelopment, which includes a new accident and emergency ward which was opened over a year ago. The entire Hospital complex has been a construction site for the past three years and the total cost of the redevelopment has been put at $244 million.

However, it seems that while the existing heli-pad was included in the redevelopment plans, funding for its construction was overlooked by the previous Bligh-Labor Government.

The construction of a new helipad at Rockhampton Hospital could not only save lives but also a lot of money.

Speaking recently to the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin newspaper, Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service CEO Kay Becker said the cost of sending an ambulance to Rockhampton Airport to transport airlifted patients was more than $1000 a trip, and this could be avoided if a new helipad was factored into the current upgrade plans for the medical facility.

She said the existing system of ferrying patients to and from the airport via ambulance also tied up valuable emergency service resources.

Recently there had been a push to incorporate the underlying helipad infrastructure in the current hospital upgrade which would allow the actual landing facility to be built at a later date, but Ms Becker said this was only part of the solution.

She said the hospital would still need to find additional funds to build the actual landing area.

State Member for Keppel, Bruce Young also came out in support of the new landing facility.

Mr Young said he would lobby federal government to put forward the money but was also prepared to push for state government money if required.

The new helipad is expected to save 10 minutes in patient transport time over having the helicopter land at the airport. Ms Becker said if a patient was ill enough to require transportation via the rescue service, any time saving could make a big difference. "When you're dying, 10 minutes can mean (the difference) between life and death," she said.

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