Cork University Hospital to look at locating helipad on a car park on the hospital campus

CUH has been without a helipad for 10 years despite being a level 1 trauma centre


The HSE South has confirmed that a helipad could be located on the grounds of Cork University Hospital (CUH) using a site that has become available because a co-located private hospital on the CUH campus will not now be built.

HSE South area manager for Cork Ger Reaney told a HSE South Regional Forum the decision not to proceed with the co-located hospital on the campus had freed up a potential site for a helipad on a staff car park.

A helipad on this site would be served by a direct corridor link to the hospital’s emergency department, said Mr Reaney, saying it was one of a number of helipad options to be examined.

Among other options are locating a helipad on the roof of the new emergency department itself, as well as two longer-term options of locating it on rooftops of two buildings still awaiting completion or development.

CUH had a helipad on the rooftop of its old emergency department but it was removed in 2003 when the new emergency department was built. Although the provision was made in the new building for a rooftop helipad, funds were never made available.

The absence of a helipad at the hospital has meant helicopters carrying serious casualties have had to land at Cork Airport 8km away, with the casualty being transferred by ambulance with an average journey time of 10 minutes.

The issue was raised at a recent meeting of the HSE South Regional Forum by Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Shields, who said it was unacceptable that CUH was the only level 1 trauma centre in the State without helicopter landing facilities.

Ms Shields said a more recent arrangement whereby helicopters carrying casualties landed at nearby Highfield Rugby Club was not acceptable, particularly given that CUH’s capacity is about to increase from 800 to 1,000 beds with the opening of a new cardiac unit.