Lifesaving helipad to be built on Isle of Gigha

A new lifesaving helipad will be built on the Isle of Gigha, with the help of soldiers from the Royal Engineers

The project is a collaboration between the Corps of Royal Engineers and the Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads (Hep) appeal.

The inaccessibility of the community-owned Hebridean island presents problems during medical emergencies.

The appeal will fund the £150,000 project, which will be built by 39 Engineer Regiment and local contractors.

The helipad will allow Scottish Air Ambulance and coastguard helicopters to land safely and transport patients to A&E or major trauma centres on the mainland.

Currently, the island operates a ‘landing strip’ of grass which is unsuitable for transporting patients as it can become waterlogged and muddy.

Located three miles west of the Kintyre peninsula, the island is around three hour’s drive from Glasgow, followed by a 20-minute ferry sailing.

The island’s population of around 160 people purchased the island in 2002 for £4m under a community right to buy scheme.

They now own the island through the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust.

lifesaving helipad to be built on isle of gigha

The new helipad is being built by the Corps of Royal Engineers and local contractors

The Help appeal run by the Country Air Ambulance Trust gives non-repayable grants to hospitals to fund new helipads or upgrade existing ones.

Hospitals including the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow, Raigmore hospital in Inverness and the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary have received grants from the appeal.

Help chief executive, Robert Bertram said: “Gigha needs this helipad now as there is only one surgery on the Island with no doctor.

“Once built, the community will never have to fear that ground conditions will let them down again and they can be sure of a swift transfer off the island to hospital whenever they need it.

“I’m excited that this unique partnership will provide lifesaving access to hospital in an emergency.”

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