The Royal Flying Doctor Service respects and acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first Australians, and is committed to improved health outcomes and access to health services for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
The RFDS works in and serves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communties around Australia, and we pay our deep respects to the world's oldest living culture.
We are committed to improving health outcomes and better access to health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Our ability to improve health outcomes and access to health services will be enhanced by deeper relationships with Aborignial and Torres Strait Islander peoples, stakeholders and service providers.
Our deep respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including the acknowledgement of entrenched disadvantage and institutional racisim, is a cornerstone of developing strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and critial to our service delivery.
As a provider of health services to a large number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia, we have an opportunity to improve health outcomes and access to safe and appropriate health services, recognising mutually beneficial opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to contribute to the ongoing development of services.
Almost half of all patients the RFDS provides critical health care services to are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is particularly for this reason, and the fact that over 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live in our primary service footprint of rural Australia, that the RFDS takes seriously the importance of a Reconciliation Action Plan and our contribution to working towards genuine, meaningful reconciliation in order to achieve better outcomes for our First Peoples.
We are a proud Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Partner with Reconciliation Australia and whilst we still have a long way to go to, we strive to enhance the delivery and accessibility of our services, and ultimately improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as part of our commitment to Closing the Gap. We are in the process of drafting our third RAP to be launched early next year.
We are currently working on the second RFDS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the years May 2018 - 2021 with a key focus on cultural safety.
RFDS has cared for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for the past nine decades and our RAP continues and strengthens this commitment.
As a large employer, the RFDS RAP focuses its actions on building the cultural safety of our workplace and the cultural competency of our workforce. As a large service provider to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the RAP focuses the RFDS on strengthening guidance, input, and partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in service planning and delivery.
Supporting Communities during COIVD19
Signature Flying Doctor artwork launches NAIDOC Week
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Central Operations has partnered with two South Australian Aboriginal artists to launch a major artwork and uniform piece inspired by the remote communities it serves.More details
Keeping remote community safe during COVID-19
It’s the beginning of March and the Kimberley region remains unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. Elsewhere around the globe and in some parts of Australia, the threat of COVID-19 is rapidly spreading.More details
Flying Doctor and Kowanyama community “In this Together”
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) and the Far North Queensland remote Indigenous community of Kowanyama have truly embraced this year’s Reconciliation Week theme “in this together”.More details
Supporting Students through Scholarships
Since January 2017 the RFDS has been providing scholarships in partnership with AIDA, CATSINAM and IAHA to support Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health students undertaking clinical placements in medicine; nursing; midwifery; or allied health in remote and rural Australia.
Through these scholarships, recipients learn about rural practice and feedback shows the experience inspired many to work in rural and remote areas when they complete their studies. See some reflections from recipients below or find out more about the scholarship program here.
Scholarship Student Reflects on Remote Placement with Apunipima Cape York Aboriginal Health Council
The 2019 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health scholarship gave me the opportunity to practice medicine in remote communities which presented vastly different challenges and learning opportunities. I can confidently say that it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my medical journey.More details
Reflection on Clinical Placement with Purple House
Scholarship Recipient Rebecca Fatnowna reflects on her Clinical Placement with Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (Purple House)More details
Committed to Closing the Gap
As an aeromedical and primary health care service provider, the RFDS RAP places priorities on monitoring and enhancing outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients cared for by the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, developing the capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce, and using our research and policy voice to advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing. The Flying Doctors Research and Policy Unit are focused on finding solutions to disparities in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Graphic: Community members gather around an RFDS plane on a dirt runway
Always Was, Always Will Be.
This year the NAIDOC theme is Always Was, Always Will Be. This theme recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continentMore details
Graphic: Case Study: Aboriginal Health Coordinator
Case Study: Aboriginal Health Coordinator
“Often a barrier to medical care is ‘worry’ about leaving family members behind in community – even when it is at the expense of receiving medical treatment for themselves."More details
RFDS trials gender-specific clinics in the Kimberley
The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Western Australia reports the health outcomes of a remote Aboriginal community in the Kimberley are being better addressed with the roll out of gender-specific clinics.More details
RFDS raises its voice on hearing loss in country Australia
Hearing loss affects some 3.6 million Australians and is predicted to more than double by 2060 in line with Australia’s ageing population.More details
Graphic: Loading a patient aeromedical transfer
Providing Aeromedical Care to Remote Indigenous Communities
This research considers the health of Indigenous Australians living in remote and very remote areas. It details illness and accident demand for aeromedical retrievals of Indigenous Australians by the RFDS from remote and very remote Australia.More details