South London’s first helipad opens on top of St George’s Hospital


Boris Johnson attended the launch.


By Li Hoang

More lives will be saved thanks to a £5m helipad which was officially opened at St George’s Hospital in Tooting yesterday.

The new helipad is built on the rooftop of the hospital’s St James Wing and has become the first to be situated south of the river. 

The event was marked by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and attended by MPs Stephen Hammond and Jane Ellison along with eight-year-old Harvey Tagorti.

Harvey almost died after a wooden beam fell on his head in an adventure playground.

Luckily, the helipad service helped save his life, as he became the first child to ever be flown into St George’s Hospital.

The helipad began in 2010 after the hospital was designated as the major trauma centre for South West London and Surrey Trauma network.

The helicopter emergency landing pad (HELP) appeal donated £1m to the helipad construction, which took 11 months to complete.

It has been operating since April this year and has received 30 patients so far.

MP Sadiq Khan, said: “St George’s Hospital does a great job of serving our community here in Tooting. As one of only four major trauma centres in London, the completion of the helipad will further enable the hospital to attract the best staff to work and to treat members of our community.”

Major traumas are the most common killers of people under 55 yet the majority of hospitals in the UK do not have the vital helipad facilities to enabled faster transfers.

Robert Bertram, charity director at County Air Ambulance Trust, said: “The lack of onsite helipad facilities at hospitals is a growing issue and could be costing many lives, that is why we’re currently in discussions with a number of hospitals across the country about how we can help.”

Building a helipad at St George’s Hospital prevents patients being flown to a hospital further away, ensuring a better chance of survival by receiving immediate specialist treatment within the first 60 minutes known as the ‘Golden Hour’.

Mr Khan said: “Now the helipad is operational, seriously ill patients can be transported to St George’s far more quickly, to receive world-class treatment.”

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