Helipad, air link bridge to increase the number of critical patients arriving at Bendigo Health

THE addition of a helipad at Bendigo Health will change the hospital’s patient cohort, the board chair believes.

“It will mean we have more critical patients arriving at Bendigo Health,” Bob Cameron said.

Patients arriving at the hospital by ambulance often do so by road.

“When it comes to air ambulance, we take less of them,” Mr Cameron said.

“The reason for that is that, at the moment, the Air Ambulance has to land at the airport. They have to then get into an ambulance and then they have to be driven to the hospital.

“So, often, the Air Ambulance makes the very sensible decision just to take the patient directly to Melbourne because they can land right next to a hospital.”

Once the new Bendigo Hospital Project is complete, mid-2018, the Air Ambulance will be able to land at Bendigo Health.

Patients will be rushed across the air link bridge, which is currently under construction, to a set of ‘hot lifts’ reserved for critical incidents.

The lifts connect the patient and medical team to the theatres, resuscitation facilities and intensive care unit.

Bendigo Health chair Bob Cameron, Jim Reid from Bendigo Health and Robert McGregor from Lend Lease on the new air link bridge. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Bendigo Health chair Bob Cameron, Jim Reid from Bendigo Health and Robert McGregor from Lend Lease on the new air link bridge. Picture: DARREN HOWE

“I like to think of the hospital as being built around lift wells,” Mr Cameron said.

He was addressing the media from the second storey of the two-tier air link bridge, part of which was designed to connect patients and medical professionals with the ‘hot lifts’.

The first storey of the footbridge would be open to the general public, connecting the hospital to the car park.

“This is really the half-way mark for this project,” Mr Cameron said.

In the 10 days since the air lift assembly started, the modules were transported to the site, lifted about seven metres above the street level, and secured in place.

“A lot of the cladding is in,” Mr Cameron said.

Flooring has also been installed. 

“Basic electricals have been done and there’s still the roof and ceiling to go,” Mr Cameron said.

“Everything is on track.”

He expected traffic to be flowing as normal at Arnold Street by December 17.

Traffic management is in place at Arnold Street between Barnard and Stewart Streets. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Traffic management is in place at Arnold Street between Barnard and Stewart Streets. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Mr Cameron said being able to take more critical patients at Bendigo Health would be good for the city.

“It will mean we will attract more specialist staff into the future,” he said.

“What we see as we negotiate with the health department over time is that, as we have more patients and more types of patients, we have more staff.”

Bendigo Health has been seeking to attract specialist staff to the region for some time, with shortages reported in areas such as psychiatric services.