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UK allows air ambulance to use helipad at Addenbrooke’s Hospital

Air ambulance charities across the East of England have welcomed changes allowing a helipad at the region’s major trauma centre to open 24 hours a day.

Planning permission has been granted, allowing round-the-clock use of the helipad at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, which previously could only operate between 07:00 and 21:00.

The charities said the move would ensure patients could be transported quickly to emergency facilities.

The extended hours came into effect on 20 May.

East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) and Magpas Air Ambulance all use the site.

EEAA said it had been “significantly busier at night” in the past 12 months, with a 17% increase in call outs.

Alan Ward, its aviation adviser, said the new hours would “have a notable positive impact on patient outcomes in our region”.

Previously air ambulances would land at locations further from the hospital, including Cambridge Airport, from where patients would be transported via land ambulance.

Mr Ward said the new operating hours were “significant in giving everyone the best chance of surviving and recovering from a life-threatening emergency”.

Jai Rawal, clinical director for the major trauma centre at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Fast access to our highly trained clinical teams and the right equipment can be the difference between life and death, and gives patients the best chance of recovery.”

He said the extended hours were expected to lead to a slight increase in the number of flights to the helipad.

Medical director at EHAAT, Dr Tony Joy, said the 24/7 helipad would reduce transfer times and “improve clinical outcomes” for patients.

Natalie Church, Magpas Air Ambulance’s director of operations, said the charity believed every hospital, especially major trauma centres, should have 24/7 helipads available. BBC

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