HELP Appeal enhances trauma care at Bristol Royal Infirmary

An overhead view of the helipad at Bristol Royal Infirmary. HELP Appeal Photo

Thanks to a £37,000 donation from the HELP Appeal, Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) has become the second major trauma center in the United Kingdom to benefit from a weather station which provides certainty and real time information for emergency helicopter pilots about weather conditions, ensuring that its patients are seen quicker and with more efficiency.

The weather station was requested by air ambulances in the South West as it measures live visibility and weather conditions around the Bristol Royal Infirmary site and helps air ambulance crews understand the next steps for critically injured patients, making sure they are air lifted to the most appropriate trauma centre avoiding bad weather conditions that can make flying difficult.

Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, said: 

“If we have the opportunity to enhance trauma care anywhere in the country, we will not hesitate to donate. As the weather station informs air ambulance crews of the conditions at Bristol Royal Infirmary, it can inform them if it’s safe to land on its helipad or if they need to be transferred to another hospital.  With more inclement weather on the horizon as winter is fast approaching, this will save precious time — a must when a patient urgently needs specialist care to help save their life.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’s Unit chief pilot, Mario Carretta said:

“Weather stations, such as the new installation at the BRI, provide emergency services aircrew with real time weather information that is available to us in the cockpit. This data becomes particularly important at night, as local airfields shut and so stop transmitting weather information. Having a good understanding of local weather conditions means that we can make better informed decisions as to whether the air ambulance is the best means of getting the clinicians to a patient, or the patient to hospital. The BRI installation joins a network of weather stations that has been established in the South West and, importantly, plugs a gap for us in the Bristol area that will also cover the NBT hospital at Southmead.”

The HELP Appeal funded the first weather station at University Hospitals of North Midlands’ Major Trauma Centre in 2019.

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