PATIENT safety will continue to be compromised until the Milton-Ulladulla Hospital’s helipad in Croobyar Road is upgraded to an all-weather facility.
Airservices Australia recently advised it would be unable to upgrade the helipad free of charge and it would cost the hospital between $45,000 and $55,000 for the work to be carried out.
At the same time it suggested the NSW Health Department might be able to fund the work.
Local GP and hospital Visiting Medical Officer, Brett Thomson, has called on candidates standing for the seat of South Coast in the upcoming state election to throw their support behind the upgrade.
He said it was a simple project that would save lives and voters deserved to know, heading into next Saturday’s election, where candidates stood on the issue.
Dr Thomson said the helipad’s lights had recently been upgraded thanks to the generous support of Canberra Airport owner Terry Snow.
Mr Snow – who also owns property at Bawley Point – was asked to lend his expertise and kindly funded the design and installation of pilot activated lighting.
Despite the new lighting Dr Thomson said the helipad still could not be used in certain weather conditions, such as when the cloud ceiling was below 1000ft.
He said installing a new approach system using GPS-type instrumentation would allow helicopters to land in all but the most adverse weather conditions.
“Milton Hospital provides basic emergency services,” he said.
“When we are confronted with trauma or a severely unstable patient with a medical problem we need to get them to a high level of care in the most efficient way.”
Dr Thomson said it was unacceptable with the technology available today that patients should have to be transferred by road ambulance to Sydney or Wollongong just because the weather was bad.
While it wasn’t an everyday occurrence, it happened frequently enough to be of “real concern”.
He said people had only to cast themselves into a situation where one of their loved ones was delayed for several hours, possibly in a life or death situation, because of accessibility issues to understand the seriousness of the situation.
Dr Thomson said local community groups including the Milton-Ulladulla Hospital Auxiliary and the Rotary Club of Milton-Ulladulla had indicated a willingness to help fund the upgrade.
He has called on the NSW government to at least meet the local community half way to enable the work to be carried out.
Call for Commitment: Brett Thomson is calling on candidates for the seat of South Coast to throw their support behind the upgrade of the Milton-Ulladulla helipad.