A DECISION is due next month on the construction of a new helipad at Cork University Hospital.
The helipad, described by CUH CEO Tony McNamara as a “critical piece” of infrastructure, will be constructed on the staff car park at the northeast corner of the hospital grounds if planning permission is granted.
The decision is due on January 14.
Three objections were recently lodged with Cork City Council, opposing the proposed helipad, after plans were lodged with City Hall in 2018.
Residents near CUH raised safety concerns around the proposed helipad for the hospital, following the helicopter crash at Leicester City FC in October.
On October 27, an AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter crashed shortly after take-off from the King Power Stadium in Leicester.
All five people on board – the pilot and four passengers, including club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – were killed.
The helipad planning application lodged with City Hall confirmed the development would include a new two-storey staff car park, to replace the 164 spaces lost as a result of the helipad construction.
A new pedestrian bridge will also be erected over the hospital campus ring road.
The helipad is to be linked with the hospitals’ Emergency Department via a partially enclosed walkway which will include lift and stair access.
Mr McNamara told the Evening Echo that he hopes construction on the new helipad will begin early this year.
“The capability of being able to transfer very sick patients rapidly from other hospitals to the trauma centre here is very important,” he explained.
“This importance will grow as traffic congestion grows and the need for faster delivery of patients grow,” he added.
CUH previously had a helipad but it was closed when the emergency department was redeveloped in 2003.
Helicopters have since been landing with emergency cases at either Cork Airport or Bishopstown GAA pitch where patients then have to be transferred by ambulance to CUH.
Almost 200 helicopter transfers took place between Bishopstown GAA Pitch, Cork Airport, and CUH in the last three years.