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13 August, 2021

RFDS an essential healthcare provider

THE RFDS has been saving lives in regional, rural and remote Australia for more than 93 years.

The RFDS has been saving lives in regional, rural and remote Australia for more than 93 years.

In addition to the 24/7 aeromedical retrieval of the critically-ill or injured, the RFDS also delivers a broad range of essential primary and preventative healthcare services, including telehealth, mental health, oral health and chronic
disease management.

Established in Queensland in 1928 by the Reverend John Flynn, the RFDS has grown to become the world’s largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisation, comprising a fleet of 75 aircraft, 24 aeromedical bases and six remote primary health care facilities.

Today the RFDS delivers more than 370,000 episodes of patient care across Australia every year – equivalent to assisting someone every two minutes.

RELATED: Flying Doctors continues to connect Cape York to Cairns

Services are delivered on a day-to-day basis by six RFDS operating sections – Central Operations (serving SA/NT), Queensland Section, South Eastern Section (serving NSW/ACT), Tasmania Section, Victoria Section and Western Operations (serving WA).

The RFDS is a not-for-profit organisation. While supported by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, the RFDS depends on bequests, fundraising and donations to bridge the gap in operational funding and to finance its capital-raising program for the replacement of aircraft, medical equipment and other major capital initiatives.

The RFDS has been voted nine times Australia’s Most Reputable Charity by the Reputation Institute Charity
Reputation Index.

A study, released in 2020, revealed that the RFDS provides more than $2.5 billion in benefits to the Australian economy each year through its life-saving aeromedical services. The study was conducted by advisory firm BDO Services and independently endorsed by the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation.

In Queensland, the RFDS supports 1,056 FTE jobs (including 290 direct jobs) and boosts economic activity by $490 million each year, including a direct injection of $132.5 million into the Queensland economy.

The RFDS provides healthcare services over an area of 1.73 million square kilometres in Queensland from nine strategically located bases in Cairns, Townsville, Mount Isa, Charleville, Longreach, Roma, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Brisbane. These services are delivered via a fleet of 20 medically equipped aeromedical aircraft.

And with some of the world’s most highly trained and skilled aviation and medical staff, including 99 nurses, 73 pilots, and 61 doctors, the RFDS in Queensland is incredibly well positioned to uphold our promise to deliver the finest care to the furthest corner of the state.

In Queensland, RFDS provides on average, 190 occasions of care each day, including flying 30 patients per day to specialist care. Since 1995, we have proudly partnered with Queensland Health to transport more than 230,000 patients through the inter-hospital transfer service.


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