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New rooftop helipad

THE helipad on the roof of the South Glasgow University Hospital is the only elevated helipad in Scotland. At 64.07 metres above ground level, it is one of the highest in the UK.

It is anticipated that there will be about 400 flights per year, with 62 of these being patients for the children’s hospital. The flights will include Scottish Ambulance Service and military helicopters. The helipad will be operational 24/7.

The first test flights took place last month. Emergency medicine consultant Dr Phil Munro said: “We are delighted the first landing has taken place and it went perfectly.

“The design of the helipad was agreed at the outset of the build after emergency doctors and planning colleagues looked at the best hospital helipad designs nationally and internationally.

“We believe this design offers the best possible helicopter to Emergency Department transfer time for adult and paediatric patients. The new south Glasgow helipad is similar in design and height to the Royal London Hospital, which is the busiest trauma unit in the UK.”

Twenty-four members of staff have been trained to support the transfer of patients from helicopters into the hospital.

In the event of severe weather such as high winds, helicopters will divert to the nearby Bond Aviation site on Govan Road.

The helipad is one of the most talked-about things on the new hospitals campus. It has generated urban myths and led to inquiries from journalists convinced they have uncovered an exclusive.

In the past few months our press office has been asked: “Is it true that the helicopter landing platform sinks down into the hospital, enabling a patient to be unloaded directly into the emergency department?”

We have also been asked if it is true that the helicopters will be unable to land on the helipad because the route clashes with aircraft routes to nearby Glasgow Airport. And we have even been asked if the helicopters will be too heavy to land on the helipad!

Staff can be assured that the helipad was built to take the weight of a helicopter; that the helipad is not capable of Thunderbirds-style technology to sink into the central core of the hospital; and that helicopters won’t be held up from emergency landings because of holiday jets…