COVID-19: Responding to Need
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is part of Australia’s larger health system and considered an essential service. We are not closing during this national health crisis and will continue to provide vital emergency medical and primary health care services to rural and remote Australia, even in areas with Federal and State protective restriction orders.
We have completed modelling around potential COVID-19 impacts over the coming months, and how this relates to health service provision in rural and remote Australia. This is part of planning for the worst, while working to ‘flatten the curve’ of the pandemic. The purpose has been to investigate RFDS surge capacity and operational implications in dealing with COVID-19. The RFDS deals with infectious diseases as a routine however COVID-19 presents new challenges in terms of potential volumes of patients needing care.
As pathology services are not available in most areas the RFDS serves, if a patient has symptoms of COVID-19 and meets the criteria for testing (though testing results may not yet have been received), the patient is treated and transported as a suspected COVID-19 case. This includes primary evacuation cases, inter-hospital transfer of patients from rural/remote areas to inner-regional or major city areas for isolation and hospital care in metro hospitals, and high-risk patients from hospital care to home-based isolation.
With modelling in hand, we are closely working with Federal/State Health Departments and health/aviation industries in preparation for surge demand in rural and remote Australia.To keep our country townships and communities safe Australians should follow the advice of Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, who has advised people to avoid all non-essential domestic travel.
If you have questions about what the Corona Virus COVID-19 is, what the symptoms are, or how it spreads, you can learn more at the Department of Health website and Health Direct website. The RFDS has factsheets on prevention, symptoms and what to do if you feel you may have COVID-19. These can be downloaded below.
If you have severe difficulty breathing, call 000 immediately, and advise if you think you may have come in contact with COVID-19.