Obtaining a heli-pad continues to be a priority at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital, according to Berni Easson, community integration health services administrator, Thompson-Cariboo rural.
What’s holding back progress is the $800,000-plus price tag.
“It’s something that is truly needed in rural communities,” she said. “However, we need a safe and secure landing place.”
Easson said that everone involved was surprised when they got the price estimate back from the consultant.
Strict Ministry of Transportation regulations are the reason for the high price tag, she said.
Interior Health would not pay to construct a heli-pad. That would be up to local fundraisers. Once the heli-pad is built, however, the health authority would pay to maintain it.
About five to 10 helicopter transfers are done out of this area per year.
Land next to the hospital is available and several local donors are ready to commit to the project, once it goes ahead.
Easson said healthcare staff are looking at other options to reduce the cost, for example, by locating the heli-pad elsewhere.