The new heliport on top of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon officially opened Thursday morning.
The pad opened ahead of schedule upon receiving its certification from Transport Canada. The heliport meets all regulations and guidelines to support safe helicopter operations on the new hospital.
Cindy Seidl is a flight nurse with STARS Saskatchewan. She said the rooftop heliport will allow patients quicker access to critical care from Saskatoon and the surrounding area.
“This is truly an opportunity for us to be patient-first,” she said.
“For us to be able to land on the rooftop and deliver that patient to the level of high-quality care at this tertiary hospital here at RUH is just a game-changer.”
Before Thursday, STARS would need to land at Innovation Place then transfer a patient into an ambulance to be taken to hospital by ground, a process that would sometimes take up to 25 minutes.
WATCH: (May 2, 2019) Construction complete on new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon
Now, with the new landing pad, patients will be inside the hospital within five minutes of landing.
Seidl said they respond to a variety of calls — and every second counts.
“There are two types of calls,” she said. “It would either be a scene call, so we are an extension of 911, or an intra-facility call, where someone gets sick in a rural area and needs to be transported in.”
Corey Millar with the Saskatchewan Health Authority said both the Royal University Hospital (RUH) Adult Emergency Department and the new Children’s Emergency Department, scheduled to open later this fall, will be able to take patients directly brought in by air ambulance.
“The beginning of a new era, landing the helicopters for trauma and emergency care here on the hospital,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t use it again this week.”
STARS currently transports approximately 300 patients each year to the R.U.H. for care and they predict that number to grow with the new heliport.