Aeromedical, dental and mental health bush boost

Date published

29 Mar 2018

Graphic: Malcolm Turnbull announces new funding

Today, the Turnbull Government has expanded health care across country Australia, announcing a commitment of $330 million for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS). 

The four year funding, including $84.1 million in new funding, will support continued fly and drive in medical, nursing, and dental services in remote areas, and a new national mental health program. 

Graphic: loading

RFDS CEO Dr Martin Laverty said “All who live, work, and travel in country Australia can do so knowing the RFDS is on standby if needed, thanks to support of the Liberal-Nationals Government.

“RFDS cared for 335,000 Australians last year in the air, on the ground, or via telehealth. Our aeromedical and dental services now have certainty. We can now also deliver a new mental health service to underserved country areas in all States and the Northern Territory,” Dr Laverty said.

Of the 335,000 people cared for in the last year, the RFDS delivered:

  • 17,094 primary health care clinics in different remote locations
  • 88,541 tele-health and video-health doctor and nurse consultations
  • 10,832 episodes of dental care
  • 36,799 air retrievals of patients
  • 70,576 road transfers of patients

Graphic: dental

“This May marks 90 years of the RFDS overcoming barriers in access to health care for country Australians. The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Rural Health Minister’s support enables the RFDS to continue working to improve health of country communities,” Dr Laverty said. 

Dr Laverty thanked government Members and Senators who worked to support RFDS funding, and particularly Department of Health staff for their understanding of country Australia’s health needs.

people & plane

Country Women’s Association of Australia (CWA) President Dorothy Coombe said 

“Our members need the RFDS. We’ve worked together in country areas for decades. The CWA is delighted the Prime Minister has delivered $84.1 million extra to support RFDS in their essential country service.”

Graphic: patient

National Farmers Federation (NFF) CEO Tony Mahar said 

“Last year the NFF and RFDS surveyed farmers on what they needed most from health care. The answer was better access when needed, and mental health services in the bush. This new funding for the RFDS to do both is great.”