The Coast Guard Search And Rescue (SAR) helicopter will continue to land in the grounds of Waterpark Rugby Club (serving Waterford Regional Hospital) when it introduces its new aircraft in July of next year.

The Sikorsky S92A is to replace the current Sikorsky S61N next summer, with the Department of Transport satisfied with the current WRH landing arrangement at Ballinakill.

“The Coast Guard would of course prefer if all hospitals that are national reception centres to the Coast Guard had helipads fitted to IAA standards for Sikorsky S92 aircraft,” said a Department spokesperson. “This is not the case either in Waterford or in general nationally.”

He added: “However unless it is a rooftop pad, the final journey into the Emergency Department will be by ambulance anyway from the landing pad as they will never be positioned beside the Emergency Department door.”

Interestingly, a statement from the Health Service Executive (HSE) issued on Thursday last suggested that the existing helipad at WRH could be availed of by the S92A.