Sky’s the limit for regional SA hospital helipads

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Sky’s the limit for regional SA hospital helipads

Chris Picton MP
Minister for Health & Wellbeing

The Malinauskas Labor Government is investing $23.4 million over two years to upgrade 13 helipads so South Australians needing urgent medical treatment can continue to be airlifted safely from key regional hospitals.

These vital improvements cover a wide range of regional South Australia, from the Spencer Gulf to the Clare and Barossa Valleys, the Yorke Peninsula, the Riverland, the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.

The new helipads will allow South Australian public hospitals to better comply with the new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations while improving the safety of operations – pivotal to the transport and care of regional South Australians.

Most helipads will be widened to have larger landing areas, allowing the new State-wide Rescue Helicopter Service fleet to be able to use them safely during the day and night when they hit the skies later this year.

Pathways from helipads to hospitals will be improved, as will lighting, beacons and navigation equipment.

In some areas, safety zones will also be widened to better protect patients and staff when the helipads are in use.

The first round of helipad upgrades will start later this year, with completion of all 13 sites expected in 2025.

The 13 country hospitals where helipad upgrades will occur are:

  • Balaklava
  • Clare
  • Kangaroo Island (Kingscote)
  • Kapunda
  • Loxton
  • Mannum
  • Meningie
  • Murray Bridge
  • Port Broughton
  • Port Pirie
  • Riverland General (Berri)
  • Southern Fleurieu (Victor Harbor)
  • Wallaroo

Eight priority regional helipad upgrades have already progressed to the design stage.

The projects at Clare, Murray Bridge, Meningie, Balaklava and Wallaroo will be ready to tender by the end of March, with Victor Harbor, Port Pirie and Kangaroo Island to be tendered and delivered through aligning these works with other SA Health capital works underway at these locations.

Kapunda, Riverland, Loxton, Mannum and Port Broughton are all expected to be tendered by mid this year.

Designated alternative landing sites are being arranged at local airfields and community sports ovals, allowing services to continue while works are carried out.

Quotes attributable to Chris Picton

Our rescue helicopters are essential so everyone has access to the best quality health services, no matter where you live.

Rescue helicopters and MedSTAR are especially important for serious emergencies such as serious car accidents.

Unfortunately, the Malinauskas Government inherited a network of country hospital helipads that no longer meet modern standards and need urgent upgrades.

Upgrading these 13 helipads that service regional South Australian hospitals will ensure critically ill and injured patients can be transported safely and quickly to a major trauma hospital for treatment.

These helipad upgrades build upon our other big investments in upgrading country hospitals across the state.

Quotes attributable to Department for Health and Wellbeing Chief Executive, Dr Robyn Lawrence

These upgrades bring our helipads in line with best practice for public safety and ensure that people in need of critical medical care will be able to continue to get help when needed.

We’ll be working closely with regional communities, hospital staff and the Department for Infrastructure and Transport as we plan and carry out these upgrades.

Quotes attributable to SAAS MedStar Divisional Clinical Director, Dr Andrew Pearce

The helipad upgrades will increase MedSTAR’s ability to safely transfer rural and remote patients who are critically ill and injured.

They will be prepared to a standard that will future proof them for ongoing helicopter contracts so that we can continue to transfer South Australians in a timely fashion for years to come.

Rural hospital helipads allow more point-to-point transfer of patients which frees up the volunteer ambulance staff in rural towns to be able to serve the community.