Thanks to the amazing support of our ‘Time Saves Lives Appeal’, we’ve raised £3.9 million to build a helipad on top of the Grafton Street Car Park.

The first helipad of its kind in central Manchester, it will have a high-level link bridge straight across to our Emergency Departments in Manchester Royal Infirmary and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and to Saint Mary’s Hospital.  When it’s fully operational in spring 2020, it will enable critically ill or injured children, adults and babies to be airlifted straight to our hospitals.  This will save lives locally and regionally and increase the chances of a full or improved level of recovery in a great many seriously ill or injured patients.

Currently, critically ill or injured patients can still be flown to our Oxford Road hospitals but the helicopter has to use a secondary landing site in parkland a mile away and patients are then transferred by road ambulance.  Having a primary landing site on the Grafton Street Car Park means that patients can be transferred from a helicopter to the relevant hospital very quickly, without the need for a secondary transfer by road.

“The helipad is an amazing project which will help to save so many lives. It will be ‘business as usual’ as far as possible during the construction, and we appreciate your patience while the work is underway.”  

Kathy Cowell OBE DL, Trust Chairman


Why does MFT need a helipad?

When someone suffers a major trauma which involves multiple or serious injury that could result in death or serious disability, the speed with which they can get specialist medical help can be the difference between life and death or between recovering and recovering well.

For this reason, major trauma patients need to be transferred to a Major Trauma Centre or Emergency Department. In some situations, the quickest or most appropriate way to get a patient to the nearest hospital with these services is by helicopter. Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s Oxford Road campus hosts Major Trauma Centres and Emergency Departments for both adults and children but does not currently have a helipad within the hospital site.


How many hospitals will the helipad support?

The helipad will serve Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Saint Mary’s Hospital. Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary both have 24 hour Emergency Departments, and are also designated Major Trauma Centres.

Saint Mary’s Hospital provides specialist and emergency care for women and babies and is the only hospital in the country to have a High Dependency Obstetric Unit with 24-hour consultant presence.

Saint Mary’s also boasts the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the North of England and one of only two in the region that offers surgical as well as medical care for newborn babies. The Unit is also one of very few across the country, and the only hospital in the North West, which can also offer a full range of paediatric services within one setting (due to its co-location with Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital).


How many people will the helipad benefit?

The current estimation is that the helipad will benefit up to six patients a week (around 312 patients a year) across Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Saint Mary’s Hospital. Once the helipad is open this is likely to increase, with helicopters being used to deliver patients, repatriate them and also transfer them between specialist centres.

What is the timescale for constructing the helipad?

The helipad construction work will take around six months, starting on 3rd June 2019.  Completion is expected in January 2020.

When will it be operational?

Once the construction work is complete, the helipad will be checked and tested, then commissioned by the Air Ambulance Service and inspected by the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure it complies with the regulatory standards for helipads at hospital sites.  We estimate that it will be fully operational by spring 2020.

What impact will the construction work have on MFT patients, staff and visitors?

The work has been carefully planned to minimise disruption to staff, patients, visitors and other site users.

The project will require some car park access changes, due to construction equipment and facilities being located on Nelson Street.  Please see details on the map below for safe access routes for cars and pedestrians.

The new car park access route also means allowing a bit more time to park and get to your destination.

When the link bridge connecting the helipad to Manchester Royal Infirmary is installed in autumn/winter 2019, work will also need to be carried out inside MRI. The construction team will minimise any noise or disruption for patients and staff on Wards 9 and 10 at MRI.


The new route to enter the Grafton Street Car Park includes driving along Oxford Road. Will I get fined by Manchester City Council for using this route as it is part of the bus gateway system?

The Trust has had continued dialogue with Manchester City Council (MCC) Highways over the past six months.  As a result we can confirm that the section of Oxford Road highway located between Grafton Street and Nelson Street is not subject to the traffic restrictions preventing use by general traffic. As a consequence no fines will be issued for vehicles using this section of highway.

Will the Car Park Shuttle Bus continue to operate during the construction work?

Yes it will, and extra shuttle bus services from Grafton Street Car Park to all our hospitals will be available. Our Car Park and Security staff and the Volunteer team will also help with directions and information.

Where will the taxi rank be located during the construction work?

The taxi rank will be temporarily located near the drop off zone outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary main entrance.

Will the disabled parking spaces outside the Physiotherapy building be relocated during the construction work?

Yes, 6 disabled parking bays will be provided within the drop off zone outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary main entrance, with additional bays available within Grafton Street Car Park.

What is the disabled access route from Grafton Street Car Park to the MRI?

The disabled access route is the same as the pedestrian access route.  Please ask for any assistance you may require from our Car Park team or Volunteers.

I get the bus to Oxford Road and then walk to MRI. Will I be affected by the hospital access changes?

Yes you will. Please follow the signs at the junction of Oxford Road and Nelson Street, which will direct patients to an alternative route to the MRI Main Outpatients entrance.

Where can staff, patients and visitors find more information?

There will be posters and signage around the Grafton Street Car Park to highlight the new access routes for patients, staff and visitors.  Please follow the map and site signage to park and to access our hospitals safely. You can also email us for further information at or visit our website: for updates on the helipad project.

A leaflet explaining the car park access changes is available in clinic reception areas and on our website.  MFT staff can also access information on the Trust intranet.