HSE to seek planning for helipad at CUH

HSE to seek planning for helipad at CUH

An Irish Air Corps helicopter lifting off from Bishopstown GAA pitch, after transferring a patient to an ambulance for transportation to Cork University Hospital.  Picture: Larry Cummins

The HSE will send a planning application to Cork City Council to build a helipad on the grounds of Cork University Hospital.

It was announced in February that CUH is to become one of the country’s two major trauma centres.

The plan to reform the system was published earlier this year and is expected to cost €30m over seven years, according to Health Minister, Simon Harris.

A helipad is a major part of the planned development for CUH, if it is to become a trauma centre.

A spokesperson for South/South West Hospital Group confirmed that the hospital has appointed a full design team, including a specialist aviation consultant, to design the helicopter pad.

“A preliminary design, specific to the hospital’s setting, has been developed and has been the subject of consultation with the local and national statutory authorities,” they said.

“A consultation process has been completed with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and it is now the HSE’s intention to advance a full design proposal to a planning application to Cork City Council,” the spokesperson added.

The HSE announced €1.8m funding for the helipad in 2016, with construction expected to be concluded by the end of 2017.

CUH previously had a helipad on the roof of the old emergency department, 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.

It was announced last week that Ireland’s first community air ambulance would begin operations across Cork in August. The helicopter will be operated by Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) and is due in Ireland at the end of July.

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