Public invited to help mark 1,000th flight milestone at hospital open day

Air ambulanceMembers of the public will be given the chance to look inside an air ambulance and meet crew members to mark the 1,000th helipad landing at Southampton General Hospital’s open day tomorrow (Saturday).

There will also be opportunity for visitors to talk to the pilot and paramedics from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) and find out how they work together with hospital specialists to treat patients who have suffered critical illness or injury.

Since opening in November 2011, the helipad has received an average of one flight a day from 15 different organisations, including the coastguard, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army Air Corps. HIOWAA has accounted for more than 500 of the time-critical transfers to Southampton.

The £1.2m helipad development, funded by the Helipad Emergency Landing Pads (HELP) Appeal, formed part of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s designation as one of the country’s 12 major trauma centres for adults and children.

Patients of all ages are flown in from across Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and other parts of the UK, with the majority taken to the resuscitation area within the emergency department before moving to one of the hospital's critical care units.

Dr Andy Eynon, director of major trauma at Southampton General, said: “The helipad has saved lives and improved outcomes for a wide range of patients across the region and beyond. I am delighted we will be able to mark the 1,000th flight milestone with visitors at this year's hospital open day.

“People will have the chance to have a look inside the air ambulance and talk to the pilot and paramedics about their roles, which will be a fantastic insight into a vital part of emergency care.”

John Perry, chief executive of HIOWAA, added: “Our crew regularly transfer patients from across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and beyond to Southampton General and the helipad means that they receive faster and better treatment. Speed is of the essence when it comes to saving lives and the helipad allows us to save those vital minutes that can make all the difference.”

The air ambulance will be among more than 100 activities, events and information stands available on the day, which will be marked with an official opening by former Saints footballer Francis Benali.

Subject to operational commitments, the helicopter will be on site at Southampton General Hospital for the duration of the open day event, which runs from 11am to 3pm. For more information, visit www.uhs.nhs.uk.

Posted on Friday 26 September 2014