Reconciliation

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.

RFDS staff talking to Aboriginal Patient whilst siting on a desert dune

Relationships

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.

children play in water far north QLD

Respect

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.

RFDS staff checks on an Indigenous boy

Opportunities

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.

Kalgoorlie flight nurse reflects on service to WA communities

30 Oct 2020

In celebrating NAIDOC Week 2020, Kalgoorlie-based flight nurse Colleen Reid shares the meaningful connections and bond she shares with people living in some of the most isolated communities across WA.

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children and pilot stand in front of a plane

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.

RFDS Reconciliation Action Plan Front Cover

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. 

Read the current RFDS RAP Here

Indigenous RFDS staff smiling

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

Graphic: abc

Signature Flying Doctor artwork launches NAIDOC Week

08 Nov 2020

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.

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Keeping remote community safe during COVID-19

27 Apr 2020

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.

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Flying Doctor and Kowanyama community “In this Together”

28 May 2020

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”.

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Supporting Students through Scholarships

Since January 2017 the RFDS has been providing scholarships in partnership with AIDACATSINAM 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

01 Dec 2019

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.

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Reflection on Clinical Placement with Purple House

30 Dec 2019

Scholarship Recipient Rebecca Fatnowna reflects on her Clinical Placement with Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (Purple House)

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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.

07 Nov 2020

This year the NAIDOC theme is Always Was, Always Will Be. This theme recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent

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Graphic: Case Study: Aboriginal Health Coordinator

Case Study: Aboriginal Health Coordinator

15 Nov 2019

“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."

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RFDS trials gender-specific clinics in the Kimberley

12 Jul 2019

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.

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RFDS raises its voice on hearing loss in country Australia

20 Jun 2019

Hearing loss affects some 3.6 million Australians and is predicted to more than double by 2060 in line with Australia’s ageing population.

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Graphic: Loading a patient aeromedical transfer

Providing Aeromedical Care to Remote Indigenous Communities

17 Aug 2016

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.

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  Find out more about the RFDS