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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

No helipad for Byron Central Hospital

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Enquiring at the Byron Central Hospital open day, it seems that there is no provision for a heliport.

In 1992 my four-year-old son became desperately ill with a severe respiratory condition, later diagnosed as Hibs. He was almost unable to breathe when we took him down from our home in upper Mullum Creek to the local hospital in Mullumbimby. A surgeon from Byron Bay stood by prepared to do a tracheotomy.

The helicopter was summoned and landed at the hospital heliport. At midnight he was flown to the Brisbane Mater hospital ICU. My wife and I travelled by car and arrived several hours later. I had never seen him so ill with tubes and hoses connected to his small body.

Why is there now 24 years later no heliport planned for the new central hospital at Ewingsdale?

Last week in the Echo it was reported that the helicopter facility at Lismore is now under review because of fog limitations. Serious cases cannot always be attended.

Apparently Ballina is being considered as an alternative. But what about the Ewingsdale hospital site? According to a staff member who lives adjacent, the area is rarely fog-bound because of its elevated position. Putting a heliport there seems like two problems could be solved at once.

Nick Schaefer, Mullumbimby Creek


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  1. I wonder whether it is has something to do with a lack of forward planning or the planned development of a “retirement” village? Can’t wake up the seniors at night with helicopter noise due to an emergency life saving situation.

  2. It does make the mind boggle that there is no provision for a heliport at the new hospital.
    So seriously sick patients will have to be rushed by ambulance to Tweed / Southport or Brisbane. Or rushed to the closest heliport. There is a perfectly good pad at Mullum Hospital, now redundant.
    Unbelievable. Patients at risk due to the time taken to get emergency treatment.
    No operating theatres either I hear. There is a perfectly good state of the art one at Mullum Hospital. Now redundant.
    And what about the Birthing Unit at Mullum Hospital? A wonderful thing. Will we loose that too?

    Here we have a Council wanting to increase housing and population enormously over the next decade in its Rural Land Use Strategy (Draft at Council Chambers. Go read it) and we are loosing all the infrastructure to support this proposed increase. No public transport (trains) no helipad, no operating theatres. One hospital only. Madness


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