Winnipeg will get its first hospital-based helipad this spring.
Helicopters will land on top of the new Diagnostic Centre of Excellence, a seven‐storey building currently under construction and connected to the new women's hospital at Health Sciences Centre.
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority officials said the helipad is to be built beside the Children's Hospital on top of the new Diagnostic Centre for Excellence at HSC.
HSC is Manitoba's largest trauma centre.
The 18-by-18-metre rooftop landing pad will provide direct elevator access to both the adult and children's emergency and operating rooms, as well as the intensive care units at HSC. It is scheduled to open in spring and officials anticipate one or two air ambulances will land there every day.
The new pad means air ambulances won't have to land at the Winnipeg airport and then commute by ground ambulance to a hospital.
Cam Heke of STARS Air Ambulance said it should reduce transport times by up to half an hour.
"We don't have to stop [with the helipad] and that does take time, but also transferring patients from stretcher to stretcher, we get to reduce the times we have to do that," he said. "We can land direct at the hospital, go right in at the Health Sciences Centre and remove that whole process."
"Taking 25 to 30 minutes off of a patient's transport time can significantly improve health outcomes for those patients in life‐threatening situations," added Helen Clark, chief operating officer of emergency response and patient transportation with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
Heke said Winnipeg is behind other cities when it comes to infrastructure for air ambulances.
"Calgary has five [helipads]. Edmonton has four. Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Red Deer — it's part of a helicopter EMS system," he said. "[Air ambulances] are new in Manitoba, and so just as when we started in Alberta, there's not much in terms of helipad infrastructure, but that will continue to build over time."