MP backs QA’s helipad plans to save lives

SPEAKING OUT Penny Mordaunt
SPEAKING OUT Penny Mordaunt

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PORTSMOUTH North MP Penny Mordaunt is supporting plans to allow helicopters to land at Queen Alexandra Hospital at night.

Ms Mordaunt says she will back Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust planning application for 24-hour landings.

But she says there must be a clause, if planning permission is granted, that means the situation can be reviewed in the future.

She said: ‘I’m happy to support night-time landings if it’s for a clinical reason and it’s going to save lives.

‘But if planning permission is granted, there should be a clause for it to be reviewed in six months. QA are guessing there’s going to be about one night-time flight every fortnight, but this needs to be reviewed in case there’s many more.’

QA wants the helipad to be operational 24 hours a day, and scrap the current 8am to 6pm restrictions, to save more lives and to safeguard its heart attack service.

Most patients flown into the hospital are heart attack patients.

But there is a fear that when Southampton General Hospital gets its own 24-hour helipad in September, commissioners may choose to send patients there if QA’s helipad has restricted landing.

If QA loses patients it could jeopardise the heart attack service entirely and also mean a loss of income.

But Ms Mordaunt says she is concerned QA bosses are doing this for financial reasons.

‘There’s clearly a clinical argument here and a financial one and I support the former, but not the latter,’ she said.

Dr Richard Jones, a consultant cardiologist QA, said: ‘The main reason for opening the helipad at night is to get major heart attack patients to the cardiac unit as quickly as possible to receive life-saving treatment.

‘Any financial concerns must be secondary to the clinical need of the patients.’