The final piece of work to enable the helideck at the Royal Sussex County Hospital to be brought into use is now underway.
Cladding around the top section of the Thomas Kemp Tower at the hospital is being removed, checked ad re-attached, as a precaution to ensure the helideck can be used safely.
The work started in February and is scheduled to last 30 weeks, although the exact completion date is partially dependent on weather conditions.
Dr Rob Haigh, Chief Medical Officer for University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Being able to bring some of the most unwell and severely injured patients to the centre of the hospital by air ambulance has been a long-term goal, but the constrained nature of the site made this impossible until this point.
Now, as part of the redevelopment of the hospital, we can bring the helideck into use and provide a direct route for patients brought in by air ambulance to reach the services they need more quickly.
It is hugely welcome news that this work is underway, bringing the opening of the helideck closer.”
The helideck is served by two lifts that can take patients directly to the back of A&E, with quick access to resuscitation, main theatres, and the new Neurosurgery theatres in the Louisa Martindale Building. The helideck will also make transfers between hospitals by air ambulance much easier.
The helideck is on top of the Thomas Kemp Tower, the tallest building in the hospital. Over the coming months contractors working in cradles will remove the cladding from the top ten metres of the building and then reattach it with new brackets.
Once the works are complete, the final approvals from the Civil Aviation Authority can be sought and trial landings with air ambulances can take place prior to the helideck coming into full use.