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Surge in summer tourists prompts Gwynedd hospital heli-pad expansion plans

24 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Helicopter – new helipads planned for Ysbyty Gwynedd (Gwynedd Council planning)

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

A surge in summer tourism has led to plans to develop two new helicopter landing pads at an ‘extremely busy’ hospital in Bangor.

Proposals have been submitted to planners to remove an existing helicopter landing site (HLS) and to construct two new landing pads at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

A report detailing the plans notes that the hospital’s catchment area “doubles” in the summer months – due to an increase in holidaymakers visiting the Eryri mountains and north Wales beaches.

Submitted to Cyngor Gwynedd, the plans also included “work re-grading the soft landscape to accommodate a new access road, landing pads inclusive of surface water drainage, illuminated landing markings and barriers, and new secure fencing and enclosures to support the aircraft.”

Civil Aviation Authority

A Heliport Feasibility Report by the Civil Aviation Authority International noted that the hospital trust served a resident population of approximately 250,000 – which included Gwynedd, Anglesey and parts of Conwy.

“Due to the proximity to the Snowdonia National Park, this particular area is a popular holiday destination and the population essentially doubles during the summer months,” it said.

From December 1, 2020, to November 30, 2021, the 444 bed hospital had accepted 158 patients via Wales Air Ambulance / Bristow Search and Rescue.

“Of this total, approximately 60% were HEMS / Air Ambulance tasks whilst the remaining 40% were SAR aircraft operations.”

Due to the geographical location of the hospital and high percentage of tourism, including “sea and mountain associated incidents ” the hospital operated its heli-pad 365 days a year.

Plans for HLS at Ysbyty Gwynedd (Cyngor Gwynedd Plans)

North west Wales was also “a popular retirement area and parts of the district have the highest proportion of the over-65 age group in Wales.  The open access of the heli-pad site had also seen issues.

“There is no security fencing, which can cause issues based on the public right of way which passes to the Northeast/West of the landing site,” the report said.

“It was briefed by both the hospital team and aircrew that there have been situations whereby aircraft could not land immediately due to locals and hospital staff using the site for recreation.”

The report had described how the hospital not only served the populations of Gwynedd but also Anglesey and parts of Conwy.

It provided district general hospital medicine and surgery as well as sub-specialist care including ICU (intensive care unit), surgical HDU (high dependency unit) and CCU (coronary care unit.)

“Patient dignity was of the utmost importance” during transfers, however at the present time it was “physically impossible to locate a helicopter landing site on or immediately close by the hospital,” although its current location of 150m to the emergency department was considered “reasonable”.

Plans include upgrading the HLS for the heavy category Sikorsky S92A SAR / HEMS aircraft helicopter, which would offer a high degree “of future proofing.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

Is that not something to do with it being a much bigger helicopter ?

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
10 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

You’re on fire, today!

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Can’t they just drop a few in the Menai .Might discourage ill prepared types from straying onto mountains in their caps and dancing shoes

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Oh dear, it pains me every time a climber, walker, swimmer or biker comes unstuck. Coming from the Mawddach I’ve known so many tragedies. From Penmaenpool to today, each leaves a scar on my heart. I lecture older bikers at every opportunity about the dangers of riding the white line on our roads. They must think I’m a bit touched but we/Cymru does not need this sad reputation, I was both stupid and lucky growing up, either on the mountain, water or two and four wheels. Stay safe I say…

Derek
Derek
9 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

It is a bigger helicopter and can travel over sea, it also travels further and does multi sea rescues. It also needs to carry mountain rescue and other services There are times when it can’t land as the Air abbo is down at Bangor. It’s a multitask helicopter and covers when air abbo is already out on call. It can also collect surgeons and other medics if needed. Really need to get out more. Don’t forget the Medi transfers.

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Derek

All those incidents that are down to poor or no preparation are an unnecessary drain and diversion of limited resources. If dimwits stayed away there would be more resource for the really necessary activities of Air ambulances and the hospitals. Or are you one of those free for all don’t give a damn types?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago
Reply to  Derek

No need to be rude mate, we know what it does… When ton-up Tony wipes himself out and takes up half the available emergency services for half a day because Mr and Mrs Sunday Driver cross the white line avoiding our stone walls we do not discriminate between them. When a borderline vertigo sufferer finds their limit on Crib Goch, one is allowed to ask was your journey really necessary? When parents buy their kids a toy inflatable without a thought for tide and wind or lifejacket it is right to question their suitability as guardians. Idiots are tolerated but… Read more »

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