ARMY HELICOPTERS COULD BE CALLED IN TO EVACUATE COVID PATIENTS SAYS NHS DIRECTOR

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Chinook helicopters may need to be used to evacuate COVID-19 patients from St Mary’s Hospital to other hospitals around the country amid soaring cases and hospitalisations, NHS bosses are warning.

Speaking to The Guardian about the situation, Stephen Parker, Medical Director of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said that he has been planning ‘unthinkable options’ following a four-fold increase in COVID patients being treated at St Mary’s since Christmas.

At the start of the pandemic, a training exercise was carried out at Seaclose Park in Newport which saw the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service come together with the Military to practice a patient transfer. Now it is a possibility that within days transfers could take place for real.

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Mr Parker told The Guardian:

“These are unprecedented times for the NHS and they are unprecedented times for the island. I think it really is important to realise that we are one of the smallest hospitals in the country; we are challenged about moving patients and we could be overwhelmed.

“If the NHS is going to be overwhelmed, it is going to be the next two to four weeks. And that’s why it is so scary having gone from what was a relatively stable position in the autumn”.

Why Seaclose Park?

For many years, Seaclose was the main helicopter landing site for St Mary’s Hospital until a dedicated helipad was built at the hospital site, so procedures are well-established. The landing site is fairly close to the hospital with good access.

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The last time that a Chinook landed at Seaclose Park was in February 2014 when Undercliff Drive was evacuated – and of course the exercise in April 2020.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
51 Comments
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Cindy_ical
Cindy_ical
13 days ago

Best hurry, before our wonderfully greedy co uncil aided and abetted by their symbiotic dev elopers build over the site.

Awful that such is likely now needed.

Fairlee67
Fairlee67
Reply to  Cindy_ical
13 days ago

Well said,exactly what i thought.

Real Islander
Real Islander
Reply to  Fairlee67
12 days ago

‘In England such concepts as justice, liberty and objective truth are still believed in. They may be illusions, but they are very powerful illusions.’

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Cindy_ical
13 days ago

Seriously, you’re using a story like this to get a cheap shot in. You should be ashamed. People are dying. I agree that they are building too much. But please have some self respect and pick your time and place.

Amanda-Ghosts
Amanda-Ghosts
Reply to  Tom
13 days ago

It is a helicopter, doing a test run, not as yet picking up the seriously ill which, if so, may have been slightly insensitive. Cindy is correct to say what she did, when she did.

Uncle Albert
Uncle Albert
Reply to  Cindy_ical
13 days ago

People are dying and all you can do is put in a cheap shot. Absolute shame on you!

Truth
Truth
13 days ago

With the islands population about to expload with the pland building projects, and only one hospital, I think it’s going to become a regular thing.

Fedup
Fedup
13 days ago

Great, so now when someone is seriously ill it is just fine to separate them from their loved ones as, apparently, this will speed their recovery, not to mention the mental effect to them and their relatives. And all because our brilliant ‘leaders’ cannot see further than half way down their officious noses and got an emergency law in place to protect us. Of course there is the building on the other side of the road with ideal isolation rooms (currently called cells) with all mod cons installed. Send the present occupants, in helicopters if so required, to the mainland… Read more »

George Searle
George Searle
Reply to  Fedup
13 days ago

Fed up, great idea, BUT as the iw c ouncil can’t take any ‘thank you’ cards so easily from Government contracts, which it would be if they transformed the Prison into a better hospital, then, IF nothing in it for the greedy lot in charge, then nothing will happen.

Hence small developments are turned down by them if ‘no thank you’ card can be afforded, on environmental grounds, yet huge sprawls, damaging ecology forever get the ‘go ahead’ as well thanked by landowner/developers.

SEE it as it is, NOT how you are told it is.

John
John
Reply to  Fedup
13 days ago

Such a shame people will probably never see their loved ones again.
This is a shocking way to treat people!

Smithy
Smithy
Reply to  John
13 days ago

What choice do they have if the hospital is overrun? See my other comment. This should not have been allowed to happen.

Rob
Rob
Reply to  John
13 days ago

You know covid is not an automatic death sentence, calm down

Y.I-Man
Y.I-Man
Reply to  Rob
12 days ago

Only a 50/50 chance of ever leaving hospital IF you go in with CV thus far.

So hardly a reason to be ‘calm’ if it were one of your family. Equal chance of never seeing them alive again, hardly comforting

Smithy
Smithy
13 days ago

If our council and mp and police had any backbone we wouldn’t be in this awful situation. They could’ve stopped the influx of visitors and kept us safe. We were in tier one before they all descended on us then the council leader has the nerve to blame us for not following rules! He needs to go.I believe most people living on the island knew where we were heading as we only have one small hospital but seems our so called leaders are blind to what’s right in front of them.

Mandy
Mandy
Reply to  Smithy
13 days ago

This is horrific for Island families, but I’d be interested to know if they are Islanders or are some of those who decided to have a holiday and are being transferred nearer home. What ever happens Dave Stewart and co have a lot to answer for.

Lin
Lin
Reply to  Smithy
13 days ago

How true. I wrote to South today saying just that and my e mail was read out saying the ferries denied carrying none essential people over. The report said that visitors were not flooding the Island as I had stated. Rest my case all could and should have been stoped.

Mandy
Mandy
Reply to  Lin
13 days ago

Wait till February half term, we’ll have the idiots coming over again.

Rob
Rob
Reply to  Lin
13 days ago

Fake news! More people left the island to go shopping in the crowds in December in Pompey and Soton than came here.

Mandy
Mandy
Reply to  Rob
12 days ago

You need to ask some Island lorry drivers, they’ll tell you how many people were coming over.

Dfl
Dfl
Reply to  Mandy
12 days ago

Not coming from Albania I hope

Y.I-Man
Y.I-Man
Reply to  Dfl
12 days ago

Worse, and far ‘easier’ to spot will be here in the new builds, watch schools fill up ‘then’.

Mandy
Mandy
Reply to  Dfl
12 days ago

Not really bothered where they came from , the selfish idiots shouldn’t have been here, only consolation is they didn’t get the tier 1 Christmas they were hoping for.

Fedup
Fedup
13 days ago

Dear Editor,
Chinook helicopters are operated by the Royal Air Force, not the Army.

Truth
Truth
Reply to  Fedup
13 days ago

Armed forces could have been a better description..

David Wragg
David Wragg
Reply to  Fedup
13 days ago

Well said = you beat me to it!

Tonald Drump
Tonald Drump
13 days ago

No need for helicopters if we have a fixed link.

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Tonald Drump
13 days ago

That is very true.

Amanda-Ghosts
Amanda-Ghosts
Reply to  Tom
13 days ago

No need at all for YOU, IF you move to the other side either. Still here? Thought so.

Truth
Truth
Reply to  Tom
13 days ago

It’s very wrong, it would make a bad situation worse…

Quiet one
Quiet one
13 days ago

Here’s my take on where we are to where we were. Tier 1 beginning of December our clowns in charge said come here and enjoy the island thank you for that . Christmas wightlink,redfunnel,and the other ferries allow a mass influx on their ferries no checks etc Ty for that. Now we have an island the highest infection rate in the country not surprising really . Our population on the island is small compared to the rest of the UK. Officials blame the population for the spread and overwhelming of our NHS trust. Who is to blame really well my… Read more »

Helen
Helen
Reply to  Quiet one
12 days ago

Well said

Tom
Tom
13 days ago

We are in this situation because you, the people, are spreading it! If your loved one has covid then very little chance of getting to see them anyway. Stop blaming the government for everything! They are not the ones making you go and see all your friends over the Christmas period. They are not the ones making you ignore the lock down rules and go shopping as a family. They are not the ones making you go to the local playground and making your children mix. They are not the ones making you pop round to your mates for a… Read more »

off to work
off to work
Reply to  Tom
13 days ago

Tom i have covid and i never went out to see any friends. I went to work i never did anything over Christmas. i did not ignore the rule nor did i go shopping. All i did was go to work. I did not pop round to my mates all i did was go to work. Ho and i dont drink. So come on smart arse were did i go wrong?

Cynical Cathy
Cynical Cathy
Reply to  off to work
13 days ago

Tom you really should not have gone to work knowing you have Covid. That is completely irresponsible and if you do not know where you went wrong there is no help for you.

Last edited 13 days ago by Cynical Cathy
Cynical Cathy
Cynical Cathy
Reply to  Cynical Cathy
13 days ago

‘off to work’ you really should not have gone to work knowing you have Covid. That is completely irresponsible and if you do not know where you went wrong there is no help for you.

Rachel Stevens
Rachel Stevens
Reply to  Cynical Cathy
13 days ago

Fool

Rachel Stevens
Rachel Stevens
Reply to  Cynical Cathy
13 days ago

Fool

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Cynical Cathy
13 days ago

Cynical Cathy, it was “off to work” who said he was going to work. Not me.

Last edited 13 days ago by Tom
Cynical Cathy
Cynical Cathy
Reply to  Tom
12 days ago

I know – I tried to edit it but it was such hard work that I gave up and left it when I realised I had the whole of my life left in front of me…

Last edited 12 days ago by Cynical Cathy
Anti monkey butt .
Anti monkey butt .
Reply to  Tom
13 days ago

Twat .

Tonald Drump
Tonald Drump
Reply to  Anti monkey butt .
13 days ago

Very valuable input into the discussion.

Opinions dont matter
Opinions dont matter
13 days ago

Anyone with covid should be incinerated alive!!!!

Truth
Truth
Reply to  Opinions dont matter
13 days ago

Why???

Opinions dont matter
Opinions dont matter
Reply to  Truth
13 days ago

Because I hate the human race,especially people from the isle of wight!!!

stephen bushell
stephen bushell
13 days ago

What happened to the building that the army fitted out to help cope with the covid patients? is it already full?

Ryde Reader
Ryde Reader
Reply to  stephen bushell
13 days ago

Exactly! Are they using it?

Rob
Rob
Reply to  stephen bushell
13 days ago

It’s been empty from day one, never been used not once.

Baboshka
Baboshka
Reply to  stephen bushell
12 days ago

I was at the hospital yesterday and laid law centre looked very quiet. nothing seemed to be happening there.

Dave
Dave
13 days ago

Although developing the empty prison into another wing of St Mary’s sounds good.. but it would be even better if could have another hospital that is NOT near or in NEWPORT…

Rob
Rob
Reply to  Dave
13 days ago

How about the empty one that is still sat doing nothing in Ryde?

VentnorRichard
VentnorRichard
Reply to  Rob
13 days ago

Shhhh.. the BBC will get rejected EastEnders actors to make it seem like they are full.

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