The Maclean Hospital helipad needs to be replaced to cope with the new, bigger helicopters being used to transport patients.
The Maclean Hospital helipad needs to be replaced to cope with the new, bigger helicopters being used to transport patients. Adam Hourigan

Maclean helipad decision could come before election says MP

MACLEAN Hospital should know if it will get a new helipad for emergency helicopter services before the March State election.

MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said he has spoken with the Health Minister Brad Hazzard about the problem.

"It's not something that will be part of the election," he said. "Hopefully it will be decided before the election.

"I'm confident we will get the money for it."

Mr Gulaptis said the helipad was a critical piece of infrastructure for the hospital.

"Since the (Westpac) Helicopter Rescue Service switched to its new, bigger choppers, the old helipad has needed replacing.

"I understand the new helicopters are bigger and offer more in-flight capabilities for their patient, but the trade off is we need to provide the capability for them to land and take off in a manner that's in keeping with the critical role they play."

Mr Gulaptis said the helicopter service played a key role in allowing Maclean Hospital to function effectively.

"There are a lot of services Maclean Hospital can't deliver, but with a helicopter service that allows patients to be flown out to other areas, it allows Maclean to be remain an effective part of the health district."

The issues has even crossed the line politically into Federal politics with the ALP's candidate for Page, Patrick Deegan, pledging $750,000 for he helipad upgrade last month.

Mr Deegan said people in Maclean had repeatedly told him the new helipad was a top priority for the local community and had been frustrated that their calls have been ignored.

"Kevin Hogan and the federal and state Liberals have done nothing about the closure of the old helipad for almost 18 months, forcing patients to be transferred by ambulance from a nearby field," Mr Deegan said.



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