After very careful consideration, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) has taken the decision to postpone its plans to build a raised deck helipad in car park three at Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC).

Peter Homa, NUH Chief Executive, said: “As our plans to redevelop QMC in the years to come have progressed, an even better solution has emerged to build a helipad as part of a new urgent and emergency care centre development.

 “The Trust remains committed to having an onsite helipad at QMC to ensure our most critically-injured major trauma patients get the best possible clinical outcomes. Our future ambition is to build a new urgent and emergency care centre with a helipad that provides direct access to our Emergency Department. Importantly, this will provide much faster access times and far fewer patient movements. Subject to the necessary regulatory and treasury approvals, we anticipate that the helipad could be constructed within five years.”

Billy Monger, aged 18, was airlifted to QMC’s East Midlands Major Trauma Centre after a crash in the British Formula Four Championship race at Donington Park earlier this year. Despite the best efforts of the team, Billy had to have both of his legs amputated.

Billy’s mum, Amanda, said: “Billy received outstanding care and treatment at the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre, for which we will always be grateful. We fully support the helipad development, which will improve access to the Major Trauma Centre for critically-injured patients but it makes sense to wait for an even better solution for the helipad even if this is a number of years away. A helipad with direct access into the Emergency Department is clearly a better option as opposed to one which involves a transfer for major trauma patients for whom minutes matter. We will continue to support the future development linked to the Trust’s ambition to build a new urgent and emergency care centre at the hospital and look forward to hearing of its progress.”

Nottingham Hospitals Charity has shared plans and thoughts with fundraisers and has given them a range of options to either continue supporting the helipad plans, transfer their funds to support a vital and imminent programme in the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre or have their donations returned.

Barbara Cathcart, Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We rely on the generosity of individuals, companies, community groups, in memory giving; even legacies, to support our charity’s appeals, for which we are ceaselessly grateful. Without this support, the Charity would not be able to fund a myriad of activities and projects that enhance the care of patients.

“In the case of the Helipad’s change in plans, we have contacted our donors to provide them with options relating to how they would like their donations to be managed. We recognise that donors may wish to see donations made to the Helipad Appeal have a much more immediate impact on patients at the hospital.  For this reason we are working together to develop a special Nottingham Hospitals Charity-funded project to help enhance patient care within Nottingham’s incredibly busy emergency department. 

“Should donors prefer that their donations be used only for the helipad project, they are being offered a full refund, which is understandable and their legal right. We hope all our supporters will understand we are complying with our statutory responsibilities to keep them informed, while offering them choices about how their donations are managed

“We are very grateful and pleased that our major funder, the County Air Ambulance Trust, recognises that the plans for a new integrated emergency care centre include an on-site helipad and offer an excellent opportunity for urgent and emergency care in Nottingham. They have confirmed that they are happy for their £1million helipad funding to be directed towards this new emergency landing provision.”

[NUH Press Release, Wednesday 25 October 2017]