New helipad for Faith Hospital

Baroness Joyce Anelay and Governor Helen Kilpatrick were joined by government officials and members of the Health Services Authority at the helipad ribbon-cutting. - Photo: James Tibbetts

A new helipad at the Brac’s Faith Hospital is providing the island with a much needed dedicated emergency landing site.

At an opening ceremony held on Monday, Oct. 3, visiting U.K. Overseas Territories Minister, Baroness Joyce Anelay, and Governor Helen Kilpatrick cut the ribbon on the hospital’s new emergency helipad.

“This dedicated emergency landing site for Faith Hospital is a milestone for the Sister Islands’ healthcare delivery. It has already proved to be a huge benefit for our patients presented with cardiac emergencies,” said Dr. Srirangan Velusamy, director of the Sister Islands Health Services, in a press release.

The release notes that response time is critical for acute heart patients; the sooner they receive treatment, the better their chance for a positive outcome and survival.

The now fully operational helipad will be used by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service helicopter for patients with medical emergencies who need to be airlifted to Grand Cayman for further treatment.

The RCIPS helicopter also assists in bringing units of blood and specialist doctors to Faith Hospital to help stabilize trauma patients before transporting them to Grand Cayman.

“Healthcare is a field of constant change and we are blessed in the Cayman Islands to be able to offer acute cardiac services on par with developed countries,” noted Lizzette Yearwood, CEO of the Health Services Authority.

Located to the rear of the hospital, the helipad also offers greater convenience and improved privacy for patients, according to the HSA. Prior to its installment, the hospital’s parking lot had to be cleared for the RCIPS helicopter to land.

“As you can imagine, this would result in inconvenience for other patients and visitors and draw a lot of attention to the scene, which could possibly infringe on patient privacy. So the obvious thing to do was to designate an area for this purpose,” said Ms. Yearwood.

However, due to the property’s limited space, Faith Hospital had to seek an alternative solution. The hospital reached out Robert Hurlstone, the owner of the property on which the helipad is now located, who agreed to donate the land. Mr. Hurlstone said he was willing to do whatever he could to play a part in making sure the helipad was possible since he had experienced the critical importance of a timely transfer to Grand Cayman for his own health.

Once the property was secured, power lines were moved, the land was cleared, the surface was paved and inspections were carried out to ensure the helipad met fire code standards.

“I thank all the stakeholders who made this a reality, especially Mr. Robert Hurlstone who generously donated the land,” said Dr. Velusamy.

“Faith Hospital’s Emergency Helipad project is a great model for public-private partnership aimed at improving healthcare for the people of the Cayman Islands,” added Councilor for Health Roy McTaggart.