£2m donation for new helipad at Dorset County Hospital

A BID to build a new helipad at the refurbished Dorset County Hospital has received a £2 million boost.

The cash pledge, from the HELP Appeal charity, will help fund the landing area on new buildings at the Dorchester site.

The hospital plans to build a brand-new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit on the former Damers School site.

As part of the build, the plans include a new helipad on the roof to replace the existing landing pad, at ground-level next to the current Emergency Department.

The new helipad will also be fitted with DIFFS, a firefighting system that will, if ever needed, put out a fire within 15 seconds, as well as enabling patients to be transferred quickly and comfortably via a lift directly into the hospital.

The HELP Appeal, the only charity in the UK to help fund helipads, has donated more than £35m in non-repayable grants to fund life-saving helipads since 2009.

The charity has pledged its support to DCH and presented the first £1m instalment.

Nick Johnson, interim chief executive of Dorset County Hospital, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to the HELP Appeal for their generous support by funding a new helipad to be built as part of the construction of a brand-new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit on the former Damers School site.

“We’re fortunate to have a helipad at DCH – it allows us to provide crucial critical care quickly and ultimately helps saves lives.

“The new helipad will be a huge benefit to our patients, staff, and air ambulance crews.”

Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, added: “A rooftop helipad with immediate access to specialist, lifesaving treatment will undoubtedly help the amazing staff at Dorset County Hospital provide the best possible care for patients.

“The HELP Appeal has a strong history of supporting hospital helipad projects right across the south coast from Plymouth and Exeter to Southampton and Brighton.

“Over 23,000 landings have now taken place on life-saving helipads we have funded thanks to the support we receive from the public.”

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