University Hospital of Wales denied 24 hour helipad

Wales Air Ambulance Image copyright Wales Air Ambulance
Image caption Wales Air Ambulance has carried out more than 18,000 missions since its launch in 2001

Wales' biggest hospital will not have a 24 hour flying doctor service, it has been confirmed.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will not allow the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff to operate the helicopter at night because of where the helipad is.

It comes as more landing sites have been identified to be used round-the-clock in Wales from April.

UHW said it was working with the CAA to upgrade the helipad.

Currently, only three hospital sites support 24-hour landings, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, and Bangor's Ysbyty Gwynedd as well as Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

A total of £180,000 is being spent to make more available for night landings.

In all, 27 further areas around Wales are being surveyed to act as rendezvous points for road vehicles.

The night-time landing sites will rely on rural volunteers or hospital response teams to deploy temporary landing lights and windsocks when alerted to the arrival of an aircraft.

New 24-hour landing sites

  • Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth: Penglais School playing fields, Waunfawr
  • Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest: Haverfordwest Airport
  • Singleton Hospital, Swansea: Field behind Singleton fire station
  • Powys: Infantry Battle School, Dering Lines Ministry of Defence facility, Brecon
  • Existing off-site helipad: Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport
  • Existing hospital helipad: Neville Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil
  • Wrexham Maelor Hospital: New helipad

From April, Wales Air Ambulance crews will be joined by consultant doctors who will give immediate treatment for trauma injuries, strokes and heart attacks.

Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service Cymru (EMRTS Cymru) will benefit the critically ill.

Regarding UHW, a CAA spokesman said: "On reviewing the location of the helipad we were not satisfied that night operations could be carried out safely due to a number of obstructions in the area."

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