Isle of Mull EMS helipad officially launched

Isle of Mull EMS helipad officially launched

29-May-2024 Source: HELP Appeal

The new HELP Appeal funded helipad on the Isle of Mull, has been officially opened by John Wilson, who together with the late Dr. Bill Thomson, were responsible for the development of Mull and Iona Community Hospital. The ‘Wilson – Thomson’ helipad is named in their honour.

Since the helipad became operational on 19 March this year, it has already been used 20 times by air ambulance and coastguard helicopters transferring critically ill patients to the mainland for urgent, lifesaving treatment.

Speeches were made by Mr. Wilson; Simon Jones from the HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to building hospital helipads, which donated £418,000 to cover the entire cost of its construction and lighting installation; and Moray Finch, from the Mull and Iona Community Trust, which is responsible for the future condition and maintenance of the helipad. Around 40 people were in attendance, including Andy and Naomi Knight, who donated the land the helipad is built on.

Simon Jones from the HELP Appeal says, “This is an emotional day for everyone here. On behalf of the HELP Appeal, I’d like to say how proud we are that we’ve been able to build on the incredible service the hospital already provides by funding this state-of-the-art helipad, which is already making a huge impact to patients in an emergency and will continue to do so for many years to come. Huge thanks to our supporters for making it possible.”

John Wilson says, “I am delighted to see the official opening of the helipad. The late Bill Thomson would have been very proud to see this project finally complete.”

Moray Finch, Urras Coimhearsnachd Mhuile agus Idhe (Mull and Iona Community Trust) says, “The helipad has been well used in the first weeks of its operation. We have had medical evacuations and a number of “retrievals” whereby a highly qualified team travel in the helicopter effectively bringing the emergency room to the patient and providing critical care throughout the journey. We have no doubt that patient outcomes are better now that we have our helipad. We are so grateful to the HELP Appeal for fully funding the cost.”

Andy Moir, Head of Air Ambulance Services at the Scottish Ambulance Service adds, “The Mull and Iona Community Hospital Helipad, which is accessible 24/7 all year round, removes the need for a 15-minute land ambulance journey to Glenforsa Airfield and will deliver improvements in transfer times for patients that need to be airlifted to the mainland. This is a true example of fantastic local collaboration which has improved patient and staff experience.”

The new helipad also ensures that specialist hospital treatment at another A&E hospital or Major Trauma Centre on the mainland can be accessed within the Golden Hour and thus improve patients’ outcomes.

The HELP Appeal in Scotland

The HELP Appeal has funded or is funding 15 helipads in Scotland, including at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow; Raigmore Hospital, Inverness; Edinburgh Royal Infirmary; Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway; Campbeltown Hospital and in remote communities on the Isles of Barra and Arran. The charity has also donated £200,000 towards portable landing lights for Scotland’s Air Ambulance Service for 20 island locations across Scotland.

It has funded 50 helipads across the UK, which have seen over 27,000 landings, with 50 more in the pipeline.

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