MPs say lack of helipad may put patients at risk

CONCERNS that lives could be put at risk if Addenbrooke’s Hospital does not get a helipad have been expressed by MPs from across East Anglia.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, officially became the major trauma unit for the East of England on Monday.

However MPs have raised concerns that without a helipad patients with life threatening injuries could still be at risk. Critical patients are currently dropped at the nearby Gog Magog Golf Course and make the remaining two mile journey to the hospital by land ambulance.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: “It’s good news that for the first time the East of England will get a major trauma unit.

“It means patients will get the best treatment quicker than they would have in the past.

“The problem is that every other major trauma centre in the country has a helipad.”

MPs presented Health Secretary Andrew Lansley with a letter asking for the Department of Health to push for the hospital to get a helipad.

Dr Poulter said: “As a doctor I have received patients by air ambulance from rural areas – if it was not for the air ambulance those patients would be dead.”

A spokesman for Addenbrooke’s Hospital said: “We are working towards a permanent helipad which will mean there is no longer a requirement for a land ambulance transfer.

“In the meantime, we have every confidence in the views of clinical experts skilled in the care of trauma patients, that the system we are operating now provides a safe, high quality service.”

Addenbrooke’s Hospital is now the East of England’s official major trauma unit.

A fully integrated regional trauma service is planned to be be in operation by the end of August.

Basil Matta, director of the emergency and perioperative care division at Cambridge University Hospitals, said: “With the establishment of the Major Trauma Centre here at Cambridge University Hospitals, our expert team will be able to successfully treat severely injured patients from right across the region.”