• Helicopter landings at QA


    Photo courtesy of John Ambler

    Unfortunately a row has erupted about emergency helicopter landings at Queen Alexandra Hospital here in Portsmouth. Rachel Hawthorn at The News has written an article about this which can be found here. I thought I should write a short explanation of the the issue as it is something I have been aware of for some time and have actively encouraged the hospital to resolve.

    Some time ago, the subject of emergency helicopter landings at the hospital was raised at a Public Board Meeting at the hospital, which I attended. It immediately caught my attention as it seemed absurd that helicopters were being diverted to Southampton costing both time and money. In talking to the Dr Richard Jones, the chief of medicine at QA, it did not appear that there was actual evidence of anyone’s life having yet been endangered by the delay in time that this caused, but it was not something that can be ruled out.

    Now, I appreciate the concerns of some local residents who live close to the hospital that they’re disturbed by the noise but I am afraid that I simply do not support their objection to allowing helicopters to land at the hospital at night. We would never dream of saying that standard ambulances could not arrive at the hospital after 6pm or that they were banned from using their lights or sirens. Quite simply, where the life of any individual is at risk, and particularly in cases where time is of the essence in receiving  treatment, that must take the priority over any other concerns. I trust medical professionals to make the right decision about where any patient should be transported to and I trust the ambulance service to do that with minimum disruption where possible.

    We are after all only talking about one out of hours landing a week or a fortnight!

    I am pleased that Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, has also supported this view saying; ‘If you’ve got a hospital and a helipad which is used in an emergency, then use it’.

    I encouraged members of the Board to seek planning permission from the council to allow helicopter landing whenever and I will continue to support them in this. I await their planning application and I will try to be at any planning meeting that this goes to, to speak in support of allowing helicopter landings at the hospital whenever necessary!