Helipad Closed for Construction
On May 1, 2022, the Stuart Lake Hospital helipad will be closed while the new hospital is built. This is because construction can’t safely take place with the helipad in operation. So, the helipad at the hospital will be decommissioned for the duration, and the helipad at the airport will be used for helicopter landings and patient transport during this time. The airport is 7.8km, roughly 9 minutes, from the hospital.
The hospital helipad will reopen once construction finishes. And even better, safety upgrades to the helipad will take place during construction. These upgrades will include fencing, signage, re-location of the wind-sock, painting, and new spotlights.
If you're wondering whether involving ambulances in transporting folks to the helipad is an extra step, you'll be interested to know that whether the helipad is at the airport or on the hospital site, BC Ambulance Services are involved in transporting the patient to the aircraft.
You might also be interested to know that the helipad at the airport is used three times more often to move patients to and from the Stuart Lake Hospital than the helipad at the hospital. BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) determines which of the two helipads to use depending on circumstances, availability of ambulance cars, and weather conditions. During the hospital construction and the hospital helipad closure, BCEHS staff won't find it procedurally unusual to use the airport helipad.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we take this necessary step to allow for the new, much needed, Stuart Lake Hospital to be built. If you have any questions, please reach out! You can contact us at LetsTalkSLH@northernhealth.ca.