Regional News

$6.5 million to launch Royal Flying Doctor jets into the skies

McGowan Government contributes $6.5 million towards the purchase of two new Royal Flying Doctor aircraft New jets will enhance delivery of critical healthcare services in regional WA McGowan Government is putting patients first and delivering quality health care across Western Australia

Premier Mark McGowan and Health Minister Roger Cook today unveiled the latest Royal Flying Doctor jet to join the fleet, which will enhance patient transportation across Western Australia.

The McGowan Government has contributed $6.5 million, through Lotterywest, towards the new LifeFlight PC-24 jet, one of the first purpose-built aeromedical jets in the world.

The jet, dubbed Kimberley, is the second of the two $26 million aircraft with funding provided by the State Government, Commonwealth Government, Rio Tinto and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

LifeFlight PC-24 jets can fly at speeds of more than 700 kilometres an hour, halving current patient travel times, while carrying three stretchered patients and two medical teams, with each team consisting of a doctor and nurse.

The jets provide a significant boost to the PC-12s, which are part of the RFDS fleet and can only carry two stretchered patients and one medical team.

The new jet, Kimberley, has been brought home to Perth from Switzerland by RFDS pilot Lisa Roper-Campbell, the first woman in the southern hemisphere to command the PC-24 jet.

Victory, the only other PC-24 aeromedical jet in Australia, has travelled 73,000 kilometres to reach 70 patients across the State since January.
In 2017-18, RFDS in partnership with the WA Country Health Service, provided $45.75 million worth of interhospital patient transfer services enabling 6,697 WA patients to travel more than 8.7 million kilometres.

Premier Mark McGowan said:

“The Royal Flying Doctor Service has played an important role in the health of Western Australians for more than 90 years.

“Sheer distances between regional towns and Perth means sometimes the only way to transport seriously ill and critically injured patients is by air.

“I’m pleased we have been able to help RFDS upgrade its aircraft, which will ensure Western Australians being transported for treatment are done so with the best specialist care and aeromedical support.

“My Government is committed to putting patients first which is why we are investing $655 million into upgrading health infrastructure across the State, ensuring no matter where they live every Western Australian has access to the very best health care.”

Health Minister Roger Cook said:

“The State Government’s $6.5 million contribution towards the new aircraft will enhance the delivery of critical health services to improve the lives of Western Australians living in the regions.

“The WA Country Health Service in partnership with the RFDS play an important part in ensuring people living, working or travelling in regional and remote areas of the State always have access to quality care.”

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