Graphic: Indigenous staff with the RFDS

More Indigenous health workers key to Closing the Gap

Date published

27 Jan 2016

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.

"Flying Doctor research shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients are more than three times more likely to have type two diabetes than non-Indigenous people.

"Our research also shows death rates from injury or poisoning are three times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.

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

Around half the 300,000 people RFDS forecasts to care for in 2016 will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, mostly located in remote parts of Australia. The RFDS RAP, commencing this January, will see the Flying Doctor across its seven million square kilometer 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.

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