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771 NAS Sea King on the new HLS
Cdr Tim Jones and the Trauma Response team
Cdr Tim Jones, CO of MDHU Derriford
771 NAS Sea King arriving at Derriford
CPO Acmn Dave Brown briefing the Trauma team


Published: 10 Jun 2015

A Sea King from 771 (Search and Rescue) Naval Air Squadron has officially opened the New Helicopter Landing Site (HLS) atDerrifordHospitalinPlymouth.


The newly improved and enlarged ‘helipad’ at Derriford Hospital, complete with floodlights will enable bigger helicopters to use the site both day and night, instead of a site 30 minutes away on the edge of Dartmoor National park at Bickleigh Barracks, home to42 Commando Royal Marines. Bickleigh had been a temporary HLS for the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHNT), whilst building work at Derriford was ongoing.


Special guests along with key members of the hospital, ambulance and building staff celebrated the opening of the new life-saving facility, which greatly improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the patient care pathway, especially those with major trauma.DerrifordHospitalbecame the regional trauma centre in 2012 and currently receives around400 patients per year as emergencies needing air transfer.

 “This opening helps reinforce PHNT’s future dedication to remain as the regional Level One Major Trauma Centre for the South West of England,” said Commander Tim Jones, Commanding Officer of MDHU (MOD Hospital Unit) who has up to 170 Military Doctors and Medics based at Derriford. “The hospital serves a large area taking a range of complex trauma casualties from the region. This will include rotary wing casualty evacuations from the military Search and Rescue facilities that patrol and operate over our wide expanse of coast line.”


Previously the hospital did not have a recognised helicopter landing spot, but used a small grassed-over area adjacent to the Emergency Department, which for some years was just a set-down area for air ambulances.

The new helipad was funded by donations to County Air Ambulance HELP (Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads) Appeal, which contributed £850,000 alongside £900,000 capital funding from the hospital trust.

Paula Martin, Chief Executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance, said: “We’re extremely proud to have played a part in making this purpose built helipad a reality. It will make a real difference to patients from Devon and Cornwall suffering serious injuries and requiring specialist treatment


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