Helipad service is so important, says mum in heart attack drama

HELP Pauline Sandy is lifted out of the the air ambulance.   Picture: Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust
HELP Pauline Sandy is lifted out of the the air ambulance. Picture: Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust
From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170948-1)

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A GRATEFUL mum who was airlifted to Queen Alexandra Hospital because she was having a heart attack has spoken out in support for 24-hour helipad landings.

Pauline Sandy began experiencing chest pains and visited her GP.

CARE Pauline Sandy

CARE Pauline Sandy

She was immediately sent to St Mary’s Hospital on the island.

But medics there decided she needed to be transported by air ambulance to QA because the Cosham hospital has a state-of-the-art heart attack department and facilities.

There, Pauline was given a life-saving procedure called angioplasty, which stops heart attacks by opening narrowed or blocked blood vessels, and reduces the risks of another heart attack and damage to the heart.

Doctors at QA said that although Mrs Sandy was having a small heart attack at the time they saw her, she could have had another bigger and more serious one if she had not been rushed to hospital and dealt with quickly.

And although Pauline was transported by helicopter during the day, she said the experience had shown her how valuable 24-hour landings at QA would be.

She said she supported officials from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, who want to remove limits which prevent the helicopter landing after 6pm.

Pauline said: ‘It all happened so quickly.

‘Before I knew it I was in the helicopter and then in the theatre.

‘Everyone was so good and kind. It is a wonderful service.’

Currently the air ambulance and coastguard can only land at the hospital between 8am and 6pm.

But hospital officials are applying to Portsmouth City Council – which laid down the restrictions in 2007 when the helipad was built – to allow helicopters to land between the hours of 6pm and 10pm, and overnight when doing so would be a life-saving option.

The trust anticipates that this will mean one out-of-hours flight in a week, or possibly as few as one a fortnight.

Pauline, who lives on the Isle of Wight, urged others to support the plans, which have come under fire from some of the hospital’s neighbours who say they will lead to increased noise and disruption.

She said: ‘It was important to get me over from the island so I could have this procedure.

‘I support the trust’s application. I hope people do not have to use the facility but if they do it should be available at any time of the day. I am very thankful that it was available to me.’

Members of the public have until the end of Friday to make a comment.

The council’s planning committee is expected to make a decision at its meeting on September 22.

To have your say, visit portsmouth.gov.uk, scroll down to the Popular Pages section, click on ‘view/comment on planning applications’.

On the planning page, scroll down and go to the link called ‘Link to Public Access search page’ and then search ‘helipad’.