The Wonthaggi community will now see Ambulance Victoria’s helicopter return to landing on the Wonthaggi Hospital site.
The helicopter is primarily used to transfer patients that require more complex care to larger tertiary hospitals.
Air Ambulances will now land in the lower gravel carpark that was developed for use by builders as part of the recent Wonthaggi Hospital Expansion project, adjacent to the hospital - off West Area Road.
The carpark had until now been used by Bass Coast Health (BCH) staff to make more parking available for the public closer to the hospital.
BCH CEO Jan Child said the gravel carpark had been used by staff to ease carpark pressures at the hospital, but the decision was made to close the carpark and allow the area to be used by Ambulance Victoria from Friday 13 October so that it could be used by Ambulance Victoria as a temporary helipad.
“Ambulance Victoria used to land at the old helipad out the back of the hospital but have been unable to do that for a few years because we had a series of sinkholes appear close by,” she said.
“The helicopter has been landing at McMahons Reserve in Wonthaggi and other areas since that time, but these sites have not been ideal and are particularly difficult during winter months when the rain makes the surface for landing very, very wet.”
According to Jan Child, “Bass Coast Health and Ambulance Victoria have been working together to find better solutions and after careful risk assessment, we have agreed to allocate the space available to provide a temporary helipad adjacent to the front hospital carpark. This will make it easier to transfer patients to and from the hospital.”
The longer-term option for the helipad will be considered in the planning for Stage 2 of the Wonthaggi Hospital Expansion. BCH staff will now park on-site and in surrounding streets, however BCH will do all it can to facilitate designated parking for patients and visitors, close to hospital facilities, to allow easy access.
“We are advocating that Stage 2 bring extra carparking sooner rather than later. We’re aware that we need more parking at the hospital and we encourage everyone to allow a little extra time to find a park when they come to the hospital,” Ms Child said.