Fiona Stanley Hospital helideck ready for heavy helicopters

Fiona Stanley Hospital helideck ready for heavy helicopters

FIONA Stanley Hospital’s helideck is military rated to take helicopters weighing up to 10 tonnes and ready to accommodate the heavier helicopters expected to transport critically ill patients in the future.

The current helicopter contract expires in mid-2018, with a possible extension to early 2020, before it is likely the provider will transition to a larger fleet that will require an upgrade to the helipad at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH).

The current contract was signed in November 2014 and included the extension options at that time.

Opposition Health spokesman Roger Cook took the government to task on the matter because RPH’s helipad will be insufficient in coming years.

“They’ve purchased a helicopter that cannot land on the helipad at the State Trauma Centre. This bungle would be comical if it wasn’t so serious,” he said.

While an upgrade to the RPH helideck was not included in the current budget, despite a request from the health department, a detailed cost estimate is being prepared for inclusion in a business case.

It currently caters for aircraft weighing up to 5.5 tonnes.

It needs to be rated to 7.5 tonnes to meet new standards set by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Sir Charles Gairdner’s helipad is at ground level but the hospital will eventually utilise a helideck atop the new Perth Children’s Hospital, with capacity to take Black Hawk helicopters at 11 tonnes.

“There are no plans to move the trauma centre from RPH,” Health Minister John Day confirmed.

“The RPH helipad continues to meet the operational requirements of the State Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service and provides safe access to patients airlifted to the hospital.”

More than 5000 trauma patients are admitted annually to RPH’s trauma unit, with over 700 of these patients classed as major trauma.