A helicopter ambulance gets set to land at the new helipad at the rear of Leongatha’s new hospital bringing another of the new facility’s elements into service.
GIPPSLAND Southern Health Service has announced this week that the new 27 metre by 27 metre helipad at Leongatha Hospital is operationally ready and that Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) flights can now land at the helipad.
It has been a rather tortuous process getting to the approval stage but it means that patients will not have to be transferred by ambulance to and from the local football ground.
According to the health service, the facility “reflects best practice for ground level helipads and has been used by the Department of Health as a test site in their current review of guidelines for the development of hospital helipads”.
“In compliance with the guidelines, the helipad serving Leongatha Hospital meets the operational requirements of air ambulance helicopters operating in Performance Class 1, the highest level of operational safety for HEMS flights,” said a spokesperson for the health service.
The helipad features a new type of lighting system using LED arrays that enables the flight path track and central touchdown area of the helipad to be illuminated as a supplement to the traditional perimeter lighting.
“There has been some mention of the helipad in the local press with reference to the time delay between the test flights conducted in June and today.
“The delays were associated with the development of procedures and the procurement of additional equipment to ensure the helipad is available and ready on a 24 hour basis for use in the transfer of hospital patients as well for patients associated with off-site accidents and emergencies.
“The operational procedures for the helipad include the implementation of ‘fly neighbourly’ practices whereby aircraft manoeuvring will be conducted to the south of Leongatha whenever operationally safe to do so.
“It is anticipated that the helipad will be used once or twice a week and that this can occur at any time in response to the clinical condition of patients requiring transportation by an Ambulance Victoria helicopter,” said a GSHS spokesperson.
GSHS has developed the facilities and implemented the procedures to facilitate the safe and efficient transfer of patients by air ambulance helicopter flights using our new helipad.
The development of the high-spec helipad is expected to enhance the chances of the Leongatha hospital project being shortlisted for a major design and project award in the coming months.
The new facility has received high praise from within the health industry and has already been inspected by many health executives from across the state and elsewhere.