Historic Day for Royal Hobart Helipad

This week’s helipad testing marked a massive milestone for RHH Redevelopment – the first aeromedical retrieval helicopter to land at the RHH.

Redevelopment has always been part of Hobart’s hospital. The current redevelopment is Tasmania’s largest ever health infrastructure project and it is delivering a state-of-the-art health facility for generations of Tasmanians to come.

Critically injured and unwell patients will be delivered directly to the hospital so they can receive treatment sooner with a helipad located on the new K-Block.

Surgical and Perioperative Services Clinical Director, Dr Marcus Skinner, and Aeromedical and Retrieval Manager for Ambulance Tasmania, Garry White, were at the verification testing on Tuesday, 5 November 2019.

Dr Skinner said it was the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people over a long period of time.

"In fact, during the Rescue Taskforce in 2014, it was a recommendation to Government that a helipad be placed on the new tertiary hospital building and that recommendation was accepted," Dr Skinner said.

"Most of the senior clinicians in Tasmania have been wanting direct access to the tertiary trauma facility for a long time, 25 years in fact. With the evolution of the trauma service it has become evident that we need to have a helipad on that tertiary centre so today is a very good day for all of us."

"There are many positives. It means patients can get to the right facility, in the right time, and for the right reason. The right time is the most important component because we know that survival improves the quicker you can get a patient to hospital and get specialist management in that facility," Dr Skinner said.

Dr Skinner said that in K-Block, there would be the ability to get patients who had life-threatening trauma or other major medical conditions directly to the operating theatres from the helipad.

"The other key component to the commissioning of this helipad is we now have an integrated capability across all of Tasmania with Launceston General, North West Regional and Mersey Hospitals, which allows helicopter access and transfer. It’s going to be a great step forward."

Mr White said it was a great day for retrieval services.

"The helipad brings together the unification of the major hospitals around Tasmania with a helipad now accessible at the Royal Hobart Hospital," Mr White said.

"We will be shaving at least 10 – 15 minutes off every transport we bring to the State’s main receiving hospital and that will be great for many patients. It’s going to improve patient outcomes because we can get patients to definitive care sooner."

"For some patients, that time, accessing critical life-saving care will make a big difference for their outcomes and potentially save lives," Mr White said.

"Today's testing went well and it’s great to know that the systems that have been put in place are now fully functioning and ready to go live when the hospital reaches practical completion."

"This is the lead in to us being able to bring patients here which will be a great occasion."

Watch the interview with Dr Skinner and Mr White here.

Read more about the verification testing here.

08 Nov 2019

Westpac Rescue helicopter conducting a landing to test spring supports of the helipad during verification testing.
Westpac Rescue helicopter conducting a touchdown to test spring supports of the helipad during verification testing
Westpac Rescue helicopter crew disembarked and walking inside to inspect the helipad foyer. From left to right, Garry White (Ambulance Tasmania), Peter McKenzie (Rotorlift Pilot), Dave Davies (Rotorlift Co-Pilot) and Rod Stacey (Tasmania Police)
Dr Marcus Skinner on the helipad