The Heliport at Our Lady of Candelaria Hospital remains unused more than two years after its completion.
The Ministry of Health say the delay is because AESA, the state authority for aerial safety, is undertaking a technical study of the facility, which occupies 1,465 square metres of the roof on the new blocks of the hospital buildings.
However, after two point one million euros being spent on the project, other experts saythere can be “no guarantees of security” or indeed of the heliport ever being implemented, because it will create “serious problems” in the upper floors of the hospital block, which houses laboratories and offices.
Vibration caused by helicopters could loosen or damage some laboratory apparatus in Microbiology, Clinical Biochemistry and Hematology, located between the fifth and eighth floors of the building.
Independent experts on aviation safety told the Spanish press “in any case it is foolishness to locate a heliport in the line of approach of any airport, not just the North of Tenerife. To get to the hospital you would fly below the ceiling threshold at which the planes do, not just an unnecessary risk but a headache for the pilots. ”
There is also a prevailing down-slope wind blowing against the installation which can cause wind shear and is very dangerous, making take off or landing a helicopter difficult.
Currently urgent patients are transferred from the South, La Gomera and El Hierro by helicopter to Los Rodeos airport and are then collected by an emergency ambulance to take them to La Candelaria, increasing response times.
In the case of a top-level emergency, patients are airlifted directly to the University Hospital HUC where there is a functioing heliport.