HELICOPTER HAS NEW HELIPAD AT BHS CAR PARK TO LAND ON MINISTER for Health and Ambulance Services, Jill Hennessy, yesterday officially opened the Ballarat Base Hospital’s new rooftop helipad for critical air ambulance emergency transfers. The helipad, which will be operational from 7am on Monday June 22, will help meet increasing demand for air ambulance transfers in Ballaarat and across Western Victoria. The helipad was built on top of the new three storey car park at the hospital and provides patients facing critical medical emergencies with a fast and direct route to the hospitals’ emergency department. It will also enable critically ill patients in the region to be transported to Ballaarat Base Hospital or to major trauma hospitals in Melbourne much faster. “In a life threatening emergency every second counts, and this new helipad means critically ill patients can receive the care they need sooner, whether that’s in Ballaarat or at a major trauma centre in Melbourne,” Ms Hennessy said.
It’s estimated it will save approximately one hour, compared to transporting a patient by road ambulance. The helipad was built by a local Ballarat construction company, H Troon, and features a 25-metre diameter concrete landing surface, as well as a further 1.5 metre safety net to meet international standards. Speaking on behalf of the construction company, Noel Leonard said it was good to see the end of the build. “It has been a pretty good project and on budget,” he said. “It was a good job for Ballarat, for H Troon and all the trades. We started mid January 2014 and it was straight forward project.” One of the major advocates for the helipad was Carole Simmons and her comment at the completion of the helipad was, “It is really surreal to be here today after thirteen years of campaigning and lobbying government after government, to have it and to see the helicopter here, it’s just surreal.”
The Andrews Labor Goverbement is investing in hospitals across Victoria, with an additional $2.1 billion to be provided to healthy services, ambulances, and health and mental health programs over the next four years. This massive funding boost includes $200 million for a Hospital Beds Rescue Fund to open new beds and points of care at hospitals across the state, including at Ballarat Base Hospital (BBH) which will open new short stay medical beds and treat an additional 689 patients every year. The Government has also provided $10 million to build a second cardiac catheterisation laboratory at BBH. In addition, the state budget provides $20 million to upgrade and modernize ambulance stations across the state, including funding to build a brand new ambulance branch in Wendouree.