A NEW helipad used to transport critically ill patients to the mainland has officially opened in the Isle of Mull.

Since becoming operational in March the helipad has been used 20 times by air ambulance and coastguard helicopters.

However, it was officially opened on Wednesday by John Wilson, who along with the late Dr Bill Thomson, was responsible for developing the Mull and Iona Community Hospital.

Wilson said that Thomson “would have been very proud to see this project finally complete”.

The National:

The helipad was funded by the HELP Appeal in Scotland, which has funded or is funding 15 helipads at locations across Scotland.

It donated £418,000 to cover the entire cost of the helipad’s construction as well as lighting installation.

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Urras Coimhearsnachd Mhuile agus Idhe (Mull and Iona Community Trust) will be responsible for the future condition and maintenance of the helipad.

Around 40 people were in attendance to see the helipad’s official opening, including Andy and Naomi Knight who donated the land upon which the structure is built.

The National:

“This is an emotional day for everyone here,” said Simon Jones from the HELP appeal.

“On behalf of the HELP Appeal, I’d like to say how proud we are that we’ve been able to build on the incredible service the hospital already provides by funding this state-of-the-art helipad, which is already making a huge impact to patients in an emergency and will continue to do so for many years to come.

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“Huge thanks to our supporters for making it possible.”

Moray Finch of Urras Coimhearsnachd Mhuile agus Idhe said the helipad had already been used to provide lifesaving treatment.

“The helipad has been well used in the first weeks of its operation,” he added.

“We have had medical evacuations and a number of ‘retrievals’ whereby a highly qualified team travel in the helicopter effectively bringing the emergency room to the patient and providing critical care throughout the journey.

The National:

“We have no doubt that patient outcomes are better now that we have our helipad. We are so grateful to the HELP Appeal for fully funding the cost.”

The head of air ambulance services at the Scottish Ambulance Service, Andy Moir, said the helipad would shorten the amount of time patients would spend being transported to the mainland.

He said: “The Mull and Iona Community Hospital Helipad, which is accessible 24/7 all year round, removes the need for a 15-minute land ambulance journey to Glenforsa Airfield and will deliver improvements in transfer times for patients that need to be airlifted to the mainland.

“This is a true example of fantastic local collaboration which has improved patient and staff experience.”

The HELP Appeal has funded or is funding 15 helipads in Scotland, including at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow; Raigmore Hospital, Inverness; Edinburgh Royal Infirmary; Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway; Campbeltown Hospital and in communities on the Isles of Barra and Arran.