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05 June 2013

Work underway on new helipad at Bristol Royal Infirmary

Work has started on the construction of a new onsite helipad on the roof of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). The helipad deck is arriving in parts which will be assembled on site over the next 12 weeks. 

The helipad will open in 2014 as part of a wider programme of work currently underway across the BRI by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol), which incorporates a new ward block and Welcome Centre also due to be completed in 2014. 

The helipad will connect directly to the adult Emergency Department as well as to services within the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, allowing the fast and efficient transfer of patients, the majority of which will be children and infants. The Bristol Heart Institute will also receive patients transferred by helicopter for cardiac treatment. 

The 25-square-metre aluminium deck will sit four metres above the existing roof level of the BRI's Queen's Building and connect to the new ward block via a steel ramp leading to a new lift lobby. 

Access to the helipad will be via two new lifts and there will be two fire escape staircases. The design and construction will meet with stringent building and safety regulations, including compliance with Civil Aviation Authority design standards, and increased fire protection to the roof of the Queen's Building. 

The new helipad will receive air ambulances from Bristol and the surrounding areas - including Bath, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and South Wales - significantly speeding up transfer times for critically ill and injured patients being air lifted to the hospital for emergency care. 

Professor Jonathan Benger, consultant in emergency medicine at the BRI, said: "A helipad at the Trust providing quick access to our adult and children's emergency departments and specialist emergency services will save lives and give our patients, many of whom are children, a much better chance of survival and recovery." 

A grant of £500,000 has been provided by the Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads (HELP) Appeal Charity to support the helipad's construction.