Time is of the essence when it comes to delivering the new helipad at Cork University Hospital, a Cork city councillor has warned.
The HSE yesterday confirmed its planning application for a new helipad at CUH, on the north east staff car park within the existing campus.
CUH previously had a helipad but it was closed when the emergency department was redeveloped in 2003.
Helicopters with emergency cases have since been landing at either Cork Airport or Bishopstown GAA pitch, where patients then have to be transferred by ambulance to CUH.
The planning notice 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.
Cllr Mary Shields (FF) welcomed the announcement and said that the new development needs to be put in place as soon as possible.
“The new helipad needs to be constructed without delay and plans need to progress quickly.
“Time is of the essence when it comes to the delivery of emergency medicine and healthcare and the new helipad is crucial for this delivery,” she added.
“CUH is a major trauma unit so it’s ridiculous it has been without a helipad for so long.” As a maritime county, a helipad at the major hospital is crucial, Cllr Shields explained.
“If there are emergencies at sea, helicopters can often land on the ships helipad but there is currently nowhere to land at CUH.
“Similarly, CUH has a large maternity hospital and if a baby is born in need of emergency care, they need to get to Crumlin as quickly as possible,” she added.
“There’s no time to be delayed in an ambulance trying to get to Cork Airport to then get on a helicopter, or even be transferred to Dublin by ambulance.” With the construction of a new 306 space two storey car park, access routes, pedestrian ramps and bridges also on the cards, Cllr Shields stressed that the helipad must take precedent.
“I would welcome increased parking for patients, visitors and staff, it’s very important for everyone going to the hospital.
“However, it’s crucial that the helipad takes precedent.”