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Helipad for hospital may help save lives

by NicoleI Mathewson, reproduced courtesy of The Press, 20 March, 2013

Putting a rescue helicopter pad on top of Christchurch's revamped central hospital could be the difference between life and death for some critically ill patients.

Rescue helicopters from Christchurch, the West Coast and Dunedin currently have to drop patients off at a helipad across the road from Christchurch Hospital in Hagley Park.

But plans released on Monday on the $600 million redevelopment of Christchurch and Burwood hospitals have revealed a new helipad will be built on top of Christchurch Hospital.

Garden City Helicopters general manager Simon Duncan said the news had made the crew of the Christchurch-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter "very happy".

The service transported more than 500 patients to Christchurch Hospital every year.

Duncan said the company had reviewed its missions from 2008 to 2010 as part of an earlier project to have the helipad moved to the hospital site and found it took an extra 12 minutes on average to transport patients from Hagley Park to the emergency department.

"It's quite significant. You can fly to Waikari or Amberley in 12 minutes."

Emergency physician Rob Ojala, who was also the clinical lead for the facilities development project, said having the helipad on the hospital site could mean "the difference between life and death".

"It's a win for the people of Canterbury, really."

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