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CMFT launch charity appeal to build helipad on site

helipad launchToday, as part of National Air Ambulance Week (21-27 September) Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity (CMFT Charity) launches its new £3.9 million Charity Appeal to build a dedicated helipad on site at the Trust.

Using the strapline, 'Time Saves Lives', the Helipad Appeal will enable the creation of a brand-new 24-hour access primary helicopter landing site, the first of its kind in central Manchester. This will allow the Trust to save many more lives and will increase the chances of a full or improved level of recovery in a great many seriously ill or injured patients.

Located on the roof of the new multi-storey car park on Grafton Street, the helipad will be connected to the hospitals by a high-level link bridge and roof top corridor.

Four of the Trust's eight hospitals are based on the central Manchester site including Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Saint Mary's Hospital. As a whole, the hospitals see over one million patients each year, looking after patients from birth to the end of life, from across the whole of the North West, and often beyond.

Each of the hospitals offers internationally recognised specialist services for critically ill patients. Manchester Royal Infirmary and Royal Manchester Children's Hospital are also members of the Greater Manchester Major Trauma Centre Network. This means the hospitals provide rapid access to treatment and rehabilitation for adults, children and babies following a life threatening or life changing physical injury. Despite the range of specialisms the hospital site is without its own designated helipad.

Currently, the Trust relies upon a secondary landing site in a nearby park an arrangement which means that patients initially transported by air ambulance must then be transferred the final mile of their journey by land ambulance. This second transfer, often undertaken on muddy or uneven ground, significantly adds to the risk of complication, particularly in children, due to additional handling of the patient. A secondary transfer also adds precious minutes to the overall transfer time with every moment's delay greatly increasing the risk to life.

Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager at the North West Air Ambulance knows only too well the benefits an onsite landing would have:

"Few hospitals have helipads and so we regularly have to resort to using designated secondary sites which adds further journey time in cases of major trauma when every minute counts.

We are fully in support of a helipad at Central Manchester Hospitals; it will make a significant difference to the survival and early recovery of patients across the North West."

Peter-Marc Fortune, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist and Associate Clinical Head at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Director of Resuscitation & Simulation Service - CMFT, agrees:

"Royal Manchester Children's Hospital is the biggest, busiest and I would argue best, children's hospital in the UK. However, sometimes when a child is critically ill, time is against us. Every minute that passes reduces our ability to intervene to maximise their chance of a good outcome. This helipad can save those precious minutes and allow us to make a difference which for those children lasts a lifetime."

Central Manchester Foundation Trust Charity launched their Helipad Appeal by staging a photo with a difference. To represent the large number of people involved in the transfer and subsequent care of major trauma patients, and the care of those who benefit from the site's specialisms, around 70 key players gathered to form the shape of an 'H' - the markings of a helipad. From trauma and transplant consultants, paramedics and air ambulance pilots, to porters and other vital hospital staff, all came together to show their support for the Appeal.

Such staff were joined by Chairman of Central Manchester Foundation Trust Charitable Fundraising Board, Maurice Watkins CBE and Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity mascot, Humphrey, along with patients who know more than anyone the need for an onsite helipad:

danielle rigby

17-year old Danielle Rigby (right) was a patient of Royal Manchester Children's Hospital last year after being involved in aroad traffic accident in her hometown of Bolton. Suffering a near-fatal arterial bleed on the brain, Danielle was airlifted to the children's hospital via parkland one mile away from the site. An onsite helipad would have meant Danielle would have arrived at the hospital much sooner, and would not have experienced a risky and uncomfortable secondary transfer.

Sarah Rigby, Danielle's mother, says:

"When our daughter Danielle was struck by a car she received massive head injuries, suffering a major bleed on the brain and losing a lot of oxygen very quickly. In short, she was dying. Danielle was transferred to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital by helicopter but had to land in the park across the road.  A helipad within the hospital-site would have got her there quicker and given her a greater chance of survival.  Despite landing in the park, we were lucky and Danielle did survive.  Although it's too early to tell for sure, we are hopeful she will make a full recovery, but we are so very aware how different our story could have been. The less time it takes to transfer a child, the more chance there is of saving them.  Please support this Appeal."

Also present for the photo was 9-month old Jeremiah Oderinde (right) and family. Last Christmas Jeremiah was bornjeremiah oderinde at Saint Mary's Hospital. Only a few hours after his birth his lungs began to fail, his tiny body unable to respond to the hospital's highest frequency ventilator.  The only way to save him was by flying him out to one of four specialist centres in the UK to receive life-saving Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment (cardiac and respiratory support), via road ambulance and then a plane at Manchester Airport. Thankfully Jeremiah is a happy and healthy baby boy however, the new-born's transfer would have been much quicker, and his chance of survival would likely have been much increased if there was a landing pad onsite at the Trust.

Over the next year the Helipad Appeal will take the lead focus of the Charity's fundraising, as they look to rally support from the whole of the North West. As Chairman of Central Manchester Foundation Trust's Charitable Fundraising Board, Maurice Watkins CBE, says, every penny counts:

"This Appeal is the perfect opportunity for the whole of Manchester, and in fact the whole of the North West, to come together to support a service which will benefit the entire region. If a member of your family was to suffer a critical injury there is no place else you would want them to be treated.

Thanks to donor support we successfully raised funds to support the development of the largest children's' hospital in the country, so we know that if we work together again we can achieve our target. Every single person who decides to support this Appeal will be playing a vital role in securing faster and more effective transfers for our major trauma patients of the future. It cannot be emphasised enough that small donations are as valuable as larger donations. Together your support will help to reduce dramatically patient transfer times by up to two thirds and in turn will help to save lives and improve patient recovery."

To learn more about the Helipad Appeal and to get involved visit www.cmftcharity.org.uk

To donate now text HELI15 (£AMOUNT) to 70070

#TimeSavesLives @RMCHCharity

The support of the Central Manchester Foundation Trust Charity means that the hospital can provide additional resources that make life easier for patients and their families who use the hospital.

The Charity has three main areas of work:

  • to support research projects to improve understanding of patient's illnesses
  • to help to create an environment that's more patient-friendly
  • to provide state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosis and treatment.


For further information please contact Aimee Lawless 07827 866286 or e-mail aimee.lawless@cmft.nhs.uk

Notes to Editors

  • The registered charity number of CMFT Charity is 1049274.
  • The hospitals which make up Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity are: University Dental Hospital of Manchester Charity; Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity; Manchester Royal Eye Hospital Charity; Manchester Royal Infirmary Charity; Saint Mary's Hospital Charity; Trafford Hospitals Charity