Helipad named after paramedic Robert Black who died from Covid opens in Campbeltown

Emergency workers have spoken of their emotions as the first air ambulance touched down at a new helipad in Campbeltown named in tribute to a colleague who died of Covid last year.

The Robert Black Memorial Helipad will speed up the transfer of patients to and from the adjacent Campbeltown Hospital by replacing a waterlogged field or flights to the town’ airport five miles away.

Mr Black had championed the project after seeing ambulances becoming stuck and having to be towed out of the mud.

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Scottish Ambulance Service emergency medical technician Stuart McLellan said: “What an incredibly moving day.

The first air ambulance to land at the new Campbeltown helipad. Picture: Kenny Craig

"I managed to catch a glimpse of the first helicopter landing via live stream online. Thank you!

"I’m delighted the helipad will have such an impact on people’s lives, from my colleagues on the air ambulance to patients.”

Mr Black, 52, was a paramedic who had worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service for 28 years.

He died last May with Covid-19 and was described as “an absolute gem of a man”.

Paramedic Robert Black had worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service for 28 years

The £270,000 project was funded by HELP Appeal (Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads).

It said Campbeltown Hospital often had to send patients to other hospitals for specialist treatment, but ambulances had to use the town’s airport in bad weather, which increased patient transfer times and could be life threatening for the critically ill.

Chief executive Robert Bertram said: “We’ve got hospitals and helicopters but we also need helipads beside emergency departments as they are absolutely vital in helping to transfer critically-ill patients to the specialist care they urgently need in the quickest time possible.

"Thanks to the recognition of their importance in Campbeltown, the hospital will now have a state-of-the-art helipad, which will save time and save many lives.”

The new helipad is beside Campbeltown Hospital. Picture: Kenny Craig

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Loganair, which has converted aircraft for use as air ambulances during the pandemic, saluted the achievement.

Chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “It’s a brilliant achievement, and one which will make a real difference in the most difficult circumstances for decades to come.”

HELP Appeal has funded or is funding 12 helipads in Scotland among 42 across the UK, including at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and on Barra, Arran and Mull.

Another is being built at Applecross in memory of an 18-year-old flu victim.

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