Statewide audit of public hospital helipads results in temporarily closure of Singleton's facility while further assessments and/or work is undertaken.
The assessment for Singleton Hospital’s helipad will be completed by the end of April.
These audits have coincided with the NSW Government rolling out a $151.2 million modern new helicopter retrieval network to deliver high quality clinical care faster and safer than ever before.
A new fleet of AW 139 helicopters started work across our district on March 7 – the day the Singleton Hospital’s helipad was closed.
Susan Heyman, Executive Director Rural and Regional Health Services said the new helicopters are part of a broader aeromedical reform that will benefit communities right across our District, particularly those in regional areas. A doctor and paramedic are on every flight.
“The Ministry of Health has undertaken a state-wide aviation audit of NSW public hospital helipads, including regions that have been using the AW139 models for nearly 10 years,” she said.
“The audit is separate to the helicopter contracts and aircraft coming online and has been pre-empted by the roll out of new guidelines for new hospital developments and major redevelopments. The audit was carried out to benchmark against the new requirements.
“Feedback from the audit has generally been issues with trees in the helicopter flight path. Other items such as paintworks, nearby structures, and pad surfaces have been highlighted at a few sites.
“The audit has found that some sites, including Singleton Hospital require some works or a test flight and will close temporarily while further assessments and/or work is undertaken. A small number of helipads will no longer be used.
“For the time being, NSW Ambulance has identified an alternate landing site at the Rugby Oval in Howe Street. Services will not be interrupted.
“It is also important to note that these changes do not affect the helicopter’s ability to respond to emergencies. As has always been the case, when dispatched, helicopter pilots will land in an area that is safe and as nearby the patient as possible.
“The decision to dispatch a helicopter is made by NSW Ambulance and the Retrieval Service, this is also unchanged.”