Published: 00:01, 15 April 2019
A hospital has said it has no plans to reopen its helipad despite a planning application suggesting the contrary.
Medway Council has received a request from Medway Maritime Hospital trust to install new lifts to the landing site, which was opened in 2004.
It’s been out of use for 10 years after new, heavier choppers were brought in.
The concrete pad could not take the weight so it was shut and since then the most critical patients from the area and elsewhere in Kent have been flown to London.
Documents sent to the council outline plans to install two lifts serving all six levels of the hospital which could also be used by firefighters.
Government policy states helipads must be served by two lifts in case one breaks down.
A third goods and equipment lift would serve the first five floors of the hospital. A fire escape would also be built.
Forms submitted by chartered architects The Brunton Boobyer Partnership on behalf of the hospital explain: “A structural engineer has worked out if the current concrete helipad is replaced with a lightweight aluminium deck then the existing steel structure will be able to support the heavier weight of air ambulance and the helipad can again be used.”
“The existing helipad is to be bought back into service after years of not being used”
It adds: “The existing helipad is to be bought back into service after years of not being used.”
But director of estates and facilities Gary Lupton said the plans were part of the hospital’s modernisation programme, adding: “There are no current plans to reopen the helipad.”
Last month Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust announced it is set to open a new 24-hour helipad at Maidstone Hospital, in Hermitage Lane, Barming.
At the moment, an often-waterlogged piece of land is used.
It is expected to be finished and ready for use by spring of 2020.
Whatever Medway’s eventual plan, a decision on the proposal is expected from next month.