If all goes as planned, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) will have a helipad on its premises by the end of this year.
Following persistent requests from people, particularly from North Karnataka, Nimhans submitted a proposal for a helipad in November 2012. Both the Union and the State governments have approved the proposal.
“We are just awaiting the green signal from the Airports Authority of India. Once they give us permission, we will go ahead with the plan. The helipad will mainly cater for people from Karnataka and border areas of neighbouring states such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh,” said Dr P Satish Chandra, director and vice-chancellor, Nimhans.
The site next to the Infosys Dharamsala on the Nimhans campus has been identified for the helipad. Chandra said the land identified for the purpose will provide easy access not just to Nimhans, but also to Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedics and other government-run hospitals in the surrounding areas of the campus. Nimhans receives around 4.5 lakh patients and 13,000 head-injury victims every year.
“The helipad, once operational, will be of great help to the victims of head injuries and strokes, as they need to be given treatment within three hours of the incident.
Besides, people suffering from uncontrollable epilepsy, those who are on ventilator support and victims of acute neurological illness can also avail of the helipad service and get treatment immediately,” he said. Although the estimated cost of the project is not known, officials from Nimhans claim that setting up the helipad is not a costly affair, but people who hire helicopters may have to shell out more money. At this point, authorities are not sure whether the facility will be introduced on the upcoming North campus of Nimhans at Kyasenahalli, for which the foundation stone was laid recently.
An official from the Department of Health and Family Welfare, who did not wish to be named, said there were instances when patients had lost their lives while they were on their way to hospital due to huge traffic jams in the City. The proposed copter service can be life saving for such people as they can reach early by landing in helicopters.”
However, it remains to be seen whether helicopters are easily available and affordable.