RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters cover 75 percent of the Queensland population and its crews airlift patients to and from most of Queensland’s 68 hospitals which have helicopter landing facilities.
While the fleet of 11 rescue helicopters can land in most places, Queensland Health’s commitment to upgrading helipad facilities around the state over the past year, makes it easier for LifeFlight’s crews to land and take off.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently announced the completion of the Stage 1 upgrade at Hervey Bay Hospital, including a new helicopter landing pad, which became operational in July.
LifeFlight Chief Operating Officer Brian Guthrie said patient outcomes were vastly improved when the infrastructure supporting helicopter aeromedical services worked efficiently, effectively and safely.
He said the new and larger facility at Hervey Bay was welcomed by LifeFlight crews.
“Since the new helipad opened a few months ago, we have already seen an improvement in operations for LifeFlight crews delivering patients to the hospital,” said Mr Guthrie.
“The construction of a new helipad with a larger footprint allowed LifeFlight to plan with certainty for the relocation of an upgraded helicopter for the Wide Bay region and this combination of improvements also provides a better safety outcome for crews, medical staff and patients.
“Safety at Hervey Bay Hospital is also improved with the installation of better perimeter lighting and easier access to the hospital’s emergency department.”
Work has also begun by the North West Health and Hospital Service on the building of a new helipad next to the Mount Isa Hospital.
It will remove the need for the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter to land at the nearby Kruttschnitt Oval which requires a short patient transfer by road ambulance.
“With the introduction of LifeFlight’s more powerful, and larger twin-engine BK117 helicopter to the Mount Isa base in June, a more appropriate landing space is needed,’ said Mr Guthrie.
“We have been fortunate Kruttschnitt Oval organisers have accommodated us over the past year or more, and we welcome work commencing on a purpose built helipad to accommodate the BK117 which is closer to the hospital.”