Graphic: RFDS Darwin Base

Darwin home to new ‘Flying Doctor’ Base

Date published

20 Sep 2018
Commemorative Plaque

The new home to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the nation’s Top End region was officially opened today at Darwin Airport.

The new purpose-built RFDS Darwin Base was officially opened by RFDS Central Operations Chairman, Ms Loretta Reynolds, ‘In recognition of the contribution of our Staff, Board, Auxiliaries & Support Groups, Volunteers, Donors, Bequestors and Corporate Partners.’

In 2017/18 the RFDS airlifted more than 3,000 Territorians – equivalent to nine patients per day in the Northern Territory.

The RFDS has been evacuating patients from Central Australia and the Kimberley region to Royal Darwin Hospital for almost 80 years, but until now it has been utilising a combination of hangar sub-lease and shared access arrangements with general aviation providers at Darwin Airport.

Chairman Loretta Reynolds

“The Board’s decision to invest in our own, purpose-built Darwin Base is evidence of a long-term commitment to the care and well-being of all Territorians,” Ms Reynolds said.

“We continue our services from our very own purpose-built facility that has enabled us to deliver enhanced care and comfort for our patients heading into Darwin,” Ms Reynolds said.

“The modern facility will create a streamlined patient transfer process, as well as provide a modern and safe workplace for our Darwin-based staff, as well as guests and our health service-delivery partners in NT Health and St John Ambulance.

"It also offers the NT Government a trusted and cost-effective option for the repatriation of low-acuity patients from Royal Darwin Hospital,” she added.

Darwin Base with aircraft

The aviation section of the new facility includes a modern engineering workshop and store with the capacity to hangar up to four RFDS aircraft – including one long-haul aeromedical jet – as well as parking for up to six aircraft on the tarmac apron.

Features of the medical and patient transfer facility include time-critical design factors and private patient management bays, with a separate waiting area/lounge for charter guests such as NT Health clinicians delivering remote clinics.

Darwin Base

The new Darwin Base follows $27 million of investment by the RFDS in enhanced health services and tourism attractions in the NT over the past five years, including the:

  • replacement of two RFDS ‘flying intensive care units’;
  • redevelopment of the Alice Springs Base;
  • refurbishment of the award-winning Alice Springs Tourist Facility;
  • construction of a 13-unit townhouse complex for staff and visiting service providers in Alice Springs; and
  • development of the award-winning RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility at Stokes Hill Wharf.