SMC helipad 'ready in record time'
Manama, June 29, 2008
Work has been completed on a permanent helipad at the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) and the BD350,000 ($928,332) project is now awaiting 'regulatory approval' before it can receive the first helicopters, said a health ministry official.
'The project has been completed in record time and well before the deadline of the 2009 Gulf Air Formula One, which had been given to us,' Health Ministry engineering and maintenance director Mohamed Abdulla Al Qahtani told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The Interior Ministry will now 'take over' the structure and work on other formalities. 'This will be done in the next few months,' said Al Qahtani.
Work on the project started a little more than a year ago when it was decided to have the helipad, primarily to take care of requirements for the Formula One event in Bahrain.
'It later became part of an overall national disaster plan in the country,' said Al Qahtani.
He said the structure had been fitted with an evacuation lift, which will take patients who come in by helicopter to the road level, so they can be transported by ambulance to the adjoining Accident and Emergency Department.
'The helipad has been built on a site that previously housed a shaded parking lot for ministry staff, parallel to the Accident and Emergency Department. It is the roof of a two-storey structure that will remain vacant for the time being,' said Al Qahtani.
Plans to build a trauma centre inside the structure are under review, said other sources.
'We have managed with a temporary helipad all these years, but rules stipulate that we must have a permanent structure soon,' said Al Qahtani.
He said there were initial plans to build the helipad on top of the existing hospital building, but these were shelved since the structure would not be able to take the load.
'The current paid parking lot outside the Accident and Emergency Department was also considered as an alternative, but that proposal was dismissed on technical and administrative grounds,' said Al Qahtani.-TradeArabia News Service
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