For Warracknabeal based patient Alan Lucas, the Flying Doctor is a lifesaver. But he wasn’t rescued by a plane, or transported by our specialised vehicles on the road. He has linked to a specialist via the Flying Doctor Telehealth Service.
“At first I wasn’t sure how an appointment with a computer screen would really help me. But the appointment was so easy, we could both hear and see each other and my specialist even had time to talk to me about other concerns. I didn’t have all that worry about travelling,” patient Alan Lucas said.
“They saved my life, that much I can tell you. All of this is keeping me alive,” he said.
“Since I am on oxygen, I really can’t go anywhere, I am so grateful to the Royal Flying Doctor Service that they can come to me.”
Partnering with local services such as Rural Northwest Health (RNH) allows the Flying Doctor to reach patients with a variety of specialist care.
“For some patients they’d be faced with a 10 hour round trip from Hopetoun to see their specialist and that adds a lot of stress to their lives. We’ve seen patients come away from a telehealth consultation feeling so relieved, they didn’t have waiting room time and they could easily talk to their specialist. The telehealth service as made all the difference to many as they are saved the long and expensive drive home from appointments, and many find a more familiar environment more reassuring,” said Kathy Poulton, Wellbeing Coordinator at RNH.
“There are so many barriers for patients in areas like ours to get the specialist care they need. Sometimes making the choice between putting petrol in the car to get to an appointment and paying for medication and food means they put off appointment. Telehealth appointments means they can access face to face time with specialists from a computer screen, fast-track decisions and get answers and support while being surrounded by people in their own community.”
“Patients who have used the telehealth program are coming away from consultation saying they couldn’t believe how easy it all was, and how much peace of mind the appointment gave them,” she said.