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.”