First Australians

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia 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.

Graphic: Indigenous RFDS staff

Training, employing, and supporting more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in health and aviation roles is necessary for Indigenous health outcomes to improve.

The launch of the Royal Flying Doctor Service's (RFDS) Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) supports new health career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

RFDS CEO Martin Laverty said "Roughly half the people the Flying Doctor cares for in our health or dental clinics or transports by air or ground are First Australians.

"The Flying Doctor RAP, agreed with Reconciliation Australia, contains tailored actions for tangible improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."

Graphic: Emergency care

The RFDS RAP, which commenced in January 2016, will see the Flying Doctor across its seven million square kilometre service network undertake:

  • Detailed collection and publication of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient health data to inform RFDS health service planning;
  • Collection and publication of service satisfaction data from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to inform the cultural responsiveness of RFDS services;
  • Identification of promising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and aviation students for participation in a scholarship and mentoring scheme.

The RFDS RAP will also see the Flying Doctor's Research and Policy Unit focus on solutions to disparities in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

"RFDS has cared for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for decades. The RAP galvanizes our contribution to the Close the Gap campaign," Mr Laverty said.