The HELP Appeal said 20,000 landings have been made on the helipads it has funded – including 566 at the Northern General alone, for which the charity donated £1 million towards its construction.
To mark this milestone, the charity is inviting people to take part in a ‘20,000 Steps for Landings’ challenge and complete 20,000 steps to help raise money for 40 helipads which are in the pipeline.
Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, says: “As the only charity in the country funding helipads at NHS hospitals, we are dedicated to helping to save lives and it is enormously rewarding to have achieved this milestone figure.
“Helipads are lifesavers and an important link between air ambulances and hospital Emergency Departments to give a patient the best possible chance. Any delays can significantly change a patient’s outcome as saving time really does save lives.”
The charity has previously donated £2.25 million towards the construction of a helipad at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which is expected to be completed this year.
Currently, air ambulances land in Weston Park where trauma patients are then stretchered across a busy road under a police escort before entering the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
The helipad, which will be built on the roof of the hospital’s Emergency Department will reduce the delays for patients who need urgent critical care from across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
‘Every second counts’
Popular actor Hugh Grant, who funded a permanent emergency helipad in the remote Highland community in Applecross along with the HELP Appeal, also understands the benefits of emergency landing pads.
He said: “Over 20,000 landings confirm how essential hospital helipads are across the country for people whose lives are in danger.
"Every second counts during an emergency, and a helipad right beside the Emergency Department saves time, which helps to give patients the best possible outcome.
"Well done to the HELP Appeal for making this happen as many lives have been saved and many more will be in the future.”
Helipads improve patient outcomes as there are risks to patients who, after landing in an air ambulance, have to finish their journey with a life-threatening secondary transfer to hospital by road ambulance, if there is no helipad at the hospital.
The delay in treatment and movement are both contributory factors. Risks include major physiological derangement, prolonged hospital stays, blood clots, physical injury - including an increased risk of clotting - and death.
Road traffic accidents, falls and penetrating injuries are usually the main reasons that patients need to be airlifted to a hospital helipad, as they can cause crush injuries, fractures, brain injuries, extensive blood loss and cardiac arrests, all of which can be life-threatening.
Helipad patients are often classed as ‘code red’, meaning that they require life-saving blood products, such as a blood transfusion, as soon as they arrive in the Emergency Department. They can also often require an emergency CT scan so that the hospital can assess them for tissue and bone injuries.
For more information about the appeal, please visit www.helpappeal.org.uk.