Clickimin’s overspill car park should be a helicopter landing site for medical emergencies, the board at NHS Shetland agreed at a meeting on Tuesday.
The previous emergency helicopter landing site at Clickimin was removed as part of the redevelopment of the running track and athletics areas for the inter-island games in 2005.
Other existing emergency sites at Tingwall and Sumburgh Airports are not considered ideal due to their distance from hospital. Sumburgh is particularly unsuitable – the helicopter might have to wait for the ambulance, which would itself be tied up for some considerable time.
Shetland Emergency Planning Forum has been considering a suitable permanent landing site near the Gilbert Bain Hospital since 2002. A site at Clickimin would facilitate transport to hospital, or at the very least enable medical staff to meet the helicopter.
Director of public health Sarah Taylor told the meeting that Scottish Ambulance Service had verbally agreed to part-fund the cost, estimated at £115,000. The ambulance service and NHS Shetland would both contribute £48,500, with the council giving £18,000.
Dr Taylor said cars would be cleared from the overspill car park and a gate put on the entrance. However the car park will still be open for big events, approximately six per year. At those times the helicopter would land on the playing pitches. More frequent landings would damage the playing surfaces. Work on the site is expected to start next month and should be complete by November.
Last year there were 109 helicopter landings and there have been 80 so far this year. The site will go ahead in spite of being opposite the potential building site of the new Anderson High School.