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Updated 9 November 2023

8 February 2023

Plans to build a new helipad at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) have taken a major step forward thanks to a £2million pledge from the HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country that funds NHS hospital helipads.

Dorset County Hospital plans to build a brand-new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit on the former Damers School site as part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme, that will see 40 new hospitals built by 2030.

As part of the build, the Trust plans include a new helipad on the roof. This will replace the existing landing pad based at ground-level next to the current Emergency Department which would not be able to accept flights with the new building. The new helipad will also be fitted with DIFFS, a firefighting system that will, if ever needed, put out a fire within 15 seconds.

The HELP Appeal has donated over £35million in non-repayable grants to fund life-saving helipads at Major Trauma Centres and A&E hospitals around the country since 2009.

The charity has pledged its support to DCH and presented the first £1million instalment, which will fund the helipad’s construction on the rooftop of the new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit.

The new state-of-the-art rooftop helipad will allow a patient to be transferred quickly and comfortably via a lift directly into the hospital, maintaining their privacy and dignity.

Nick Johnson, Interim Chief Executive of Dorset County Hospital, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the HELP Appeal for their generous support by funding a new helipad to be built as part of the construction of a brand-new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit on the former Damers School site.

“We’re fortunate to have a helipad at DCH – it allows us to provide crucial critical care quickly and ultimately helps saves lives. The new helipad will be a huge benefit to our patients, staff, and air ambulance crews.”

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal added: A rooftop helipad with immediate access to specialist, lifesaving treatment will undoubtedly help the amazing staff at Dorset County Hospital provide the best possible care for patients.

The HELP Appeal has a strong history of supporting hospital helipad projects right across the south coast from Plymouth and Exeter to Southampton and Brighton.  Over 23,000 landings have now taken place on life-saving helipads we have funded thanks to the support we receive from the public.”

DCH staff and HELP Appeal representatives with a giant cheque
Our Chief Exec with members of the HELP Appeal and a giant cheque
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