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Currently, air ambulance missions transporting patients to the Mater involve the helicopter landing at the Army grounds in the Phoenix Park or Dublin Airport, and transfer of the patients from these locations by road.
An external report to support the planning application prepared by Rose Aviation Ltd and seen by the Medical Independent stated: “Consultants at the hospital estimate that eliminating the delay and the additional movements associated with the transfer of the patients by road from the Phoenix Park or Dublin Airport will save an additional nine lives per year, with the provision of a helipad at the hospital site.”
The report noted that transfer of patients by helicopter directly to an acute hospital is common in other developed countries, citing a number of case studies to illustrate the benefit of the facility.
The proposal is that the hospital helicopter landing pad will be located in the existing Mater Hospital surface car park on the north side of Eccles Street, according to planning documents submitted to Dublin City Council.
The pad is intended to have a lifetime of seven years, after which it will be replaced by a rooftop pad to be located on a yet unconstructed building. It is proposed that the helipad will operate during daylight hours only.
It is not envisaged that the transfer of patients will exceed 12 to 24 cases per month, with current helicopter operations being much less frequent, according to the report. The application for planning permission was made at the end of June.