Bringing the finest aeromedical health care to the furthest corners of Australia
Proudly serving Australians since 1928, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is a not-for-profit charitable organisation that provides aeromedical emergency and comprehensive healthcare services to people who live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia.
The RFDS also delivers critical support to people who live in urban centres by providing transfer of patients between regional and metropolitan hospitals.
To help meet the costs associated with running a 24 hour emergency and comprehensive healthcare service, the RFDS relies on generous contributions from individuals, community groups, business and the corporate sector as well as receiving some funding from the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.
Jandakot is the official headquarters of the Service in Western Australia, however it also has bases at Derby, Port Hedland, Meekatharra and Kalgoorlie. From these bases, it covers an area one third the size of the whole Australian continent – 2.5 million square kilometres.
It does this with a total of 14 Pilatus PC-12 turbo prop aircraft and 1 Hawker XP2 jet aircraft. The turbo props are ideally configured for our aeromedical transfer work and ideal for landing and taking off from bush airstrips. Each turbo prop can take up to two stretcher patients and a medical crew – and sometimes an additional sitting patient.
The jet, which was purchased with the help of a corporate sponsor, Rio Tinto, the WA Government and other supporters, has been vitally important to the RFDS in such a large State. For critically ill or injured patients, it can cut the travel time in half for those who are the furthest distances from the major hospitals in Perth. The jet can also take up to three stretcher patients and two full critical care teams, so in the case of major motor vehicles accidents in the far north, for example, the Rio Tinto Life Flight jet is able to reach patients quickly and able to transport them to specialist care in Perth in half the time it would normally take in a turbo prop aircraft.
Each year more than 8,000 sick and injured patients are transported, more than 40,000 calls received for medical advice and assistance, and over 2,000 clinics are run at rural and remote sites.
Every day, in many ways the Royal Flying Doctor Service takes the finest care to Australia's furthest corners so that anyone who lives, works or travels in remote and rural Australia can feel confident that they have access to the best health services.