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Future of Maclean helipad up in the air

Maclean District Hospital’s helipad which was recently closed after it failed to meet the new safety and engineering guidelines. Image: Lynne Mowbray.

The future of the decommissioned helipad at Maclean hospital remains uncertain, as bureaucrats assess the cost of improving it to meet new benchmarks.
The helipad, which is built on hospital grounds, was officially opened in 2005 with money raised by the community and the Maclean Rotary Club.
The rotary club raised an amazing $35,000 and was matched with a Commonwealth Regional Partnership grant of $38,500 to make up the total construction cost.
A media release put out by Wayne Jones, chief executive of Northern NSW Local Health District [NNSW LHD] on May 24, announced that an independent safety audit of helicopter landing sites (HLS) in NNSW LHD had been recently conducted, benchmarking existing helipads against new safety and engineering guidelines.
“The audit identified that the elevated landing site at Maclean District Hospital does not meet the new guidelines and has been closed,” Mr Jones said.
“NNSW LHD is undertaking further work to determine the costs associated with ensuring the Maclean HLS meets these standards.
“Both NNSW LHD and NSW Ambulance have agreed that an alternative temporary HLS at McIntyre’s Airfield on Northbank Road, [Palmers Island] will be used for helicopter retrieval services while options for the new permanent landing site are being explored in consultation with aviation experts and the Clarence Valley Council.
“NNSW LHD is working closely with NSW Ambulance to ensure there is no disruption to helicopter retrieval services.”
A meeting will take place this week between the executive officer of Grafton and Maclean hospitals, Dan Madden, and the Maclean Rotary Club.
Mr Madden will inform Maclean Rotary on the outcome of the report regarding the audit and the reasons behind the closure of the Maclean helipad.

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