REVEALED: Cranes stopping air ambulances with critically ill children from landing at Birmingham Children's Hospital
Helicopters flying sick children cannot land at the only specialist hospital for them in the West Midlands – due to the number of cranes surrounding it.
Midlands Air Ambulances carrying people bound for Birmingham Children’s Hospital are unable to come down within two miles of the city centre building because of safety fears.
The helicopters instead land at Tally Ho police training school on the Pershore Road in Edgbaston where patients are then passed on to a waiting ambulance crew, which takes them to the hospital by road.
Helicopters should come to rest on a landing pad between Corporation Street and the James Watt Queensway.
Helicopters land with emergency cases at the hospital between 35 to 40 times a year.
Ian Roberts, air operations manager for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “The primary landing site at Birmingham Children’s Hospital has been closed due to the many cranes in the locality, which are a flight safety issue.
“As a result of this [the closure], we temporarily used the next nearest landing site, which was located at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Since December, we have been using a landing site situated at Tally Ho Police training school in Edgbaston, which is slightly closer.”
Mr Roberts said the charity now hoped to find a landing site near Villa Park in Aston before returning to the hospital ‘when it is considered safe to do so’.
Paul Whittaker, a spokesman for Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “There are a number of building developments around the Birmingham city centre that impact on the various flight path options into the Birmingham Children’s Hospital landing site.
“All emergency landings that take place at Tally Ho are blue-lighted by West Midlands Ambulance Service to the hospital with fully trained medical staff in attendance from the time of landing to the handover at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
“That journey takes between six and seven minutes. We are working with all of our partners involved to return to a site closer to our hospital as soon as is possible.”
Responsibility for the cranes lies with developers, she said.
The charity operates three air ambulances serving six Midlands counties including Shropshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.