On Sunday HRH Prince Charles visited the RFDS Cairns base to unveil the name of their newest B350 Super King Air. The ‘Outback Angel’ is the newest plane to join the fleet and is equipped with the latest medical equipment to better serve rural and remote Queenslanders. The Cairns team had the pleasure of greeting Prince Charles and talking to him about the services offered by the RFDS in Queensland. Prince Charles also got a demonstration of the essential snake bite treatment techniques employed by our doctors and nurses when evacuating patients.
The highlight of the trip was a video conference as the Prince got the chance to chat with Lyn French, the owner of Gilberton Station and the five-star Gilberton outback retreat, who is a frequent user of the services offered by the RFDS. Lyn praised the RFDS after only earlier that morning her daughter had been flown to Townsville after being thrown from her horse.
“She’s in the right place, the flying doctor will be looking after her” she reassured the Prince.
The Prince gave his best wishes for her recovery and proceeded to impart his riding experiences.
“Having come off horses so many times myself, the great thing is to get on again straight away” he offered.
Lyn spoke about some of the ways the RFDS had given her and others in the area support. The Prince was interested in the RFDS medical chest given to the Gilberton Station that contains First Aid equipment and medication that allows patients to be given immediate care for a range of conditions prior to medical evacuation and the 24-hour medical consultation service run by the RFDS. “We’re very grateful for the medical chest the flying doctor supplies, cause it can mean life or death for us” she told His Royal Highness.
Robert, Lyn’s son provided entertainment for the Prince after he was told Robert was the eighth generation on the station.
“You haven’t been sat on by a cow” queried Prince Charles.
To which Robert replied “Nah” which he followed up with “I hurt my leg the other day”.
Prince Charles finished off the call by stating “I’m very proud to be patron of the flying doctor, it’s a remarkable operation I think” and thanked Lyn “I only wish I had time come out to visit you”.
The visit was concluded with Prince Charles touring inside the new B350 Super King Air with Pilot Phil Anderson, Dr Shelley Le Cong and Flight Nurse Maree Cummins explaining how the flying intensive care unit will be used to provide first class medical care on its essential trips.