RFDS Doctor in an aircraft

Graphic: RFDS Doctor in an aircraft

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Western Australia records busiest year

Date published

08 Feb 2024

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Western Australian has recorded its busiest year on record, with 10,270 patients retrieved across the state throughout 2023.

RFDS 2023 Retrieval data
Emergency retrievals by region in the past year

The most common reasons for transfer related to medical issues including heart attacks and stroke, injury and accidents, and respiratory issues like pneumonia and cancers.

Our crews also treated 6,315 patients at 813 primary health care clinics. These clinics provided a range of services including dental, immunisation and female GP clinics for people in some of the most remote parts of Western Australia.

RFDS WA Chief Executive Officer Judith Barker said the team has observed a range of trends influencing the growing need for the service.

“2023 was the first year since the COVID-19 pandemic where our borders were completely open to the rest of Australia and the world,” Judith said.

“We are seeing more people live, work and travel around WA, and this is resulting in higher and more diverse needs for health care.”

The 2023 statistics also showed an increase in high priority transfers.

“Health emergencies like heart attacks can often highlight the need for better access to primary health care for early intervention,” Judith said.

“The launch of our new Strategy in the coming months will see a significant focus on bringing health care closer to home for Western Australians living in regional and remote communities.”

RFDS WA CEO, Judith Barker

“We will continue to work with our partners across the health sector to help meet the evolving needs of Western Australians.”

Listen below to hear Judith's chat about the statistics with ABC Radio Midwest & Wheatbelt's Bransen Gibson.