Dr Saranne Cooke

Graphic: Dr Saranne Cooke

Message from the Chair, Dr Saranne Cooke

Date published

31 Jan 2024

At the end of last year I had the pleasure of speaking at our Year in Review event at Dubbo. This was an opportunity to reflect on the amazing work that has been carried out by the Flying Doctor in the previous 12 months.

I could not be prouder of what we had to show. The Flying Doctor has been serving regional, rural and remote communities of Australia for nearly a century. It is the tireless efforts of our front‑line and support staff and the trust and dedication of our incredible supporters that have made our mission possible.

Our understanding of preventative and holistic health means we can vastly improve the quality of life for thousands of Australians by providing access to regular primary health check-ups, mental health support and oral healthcare.

Our partnerships with healthcare services, like NSW Health and NSW Ambulance, means we can help transport people to receive the vital healthcare they need, when they need it for improved health outcomes.

Graphic: Dr Saranne Cooke

Our investment and continuous improvement in delivering culturally sensitive and holistic care, means First Nations communities can more confidently turn to us for care.

What we do, and how we do it, is becoming complex. It is a reflection of the world around us.

We utilise nearly 60 vehicles and 14 aircraft to service regional and remote communities across NSW and the ACT, as well as townships over shared borders with our neighbouring states, and even into Tasmania. This alone represents significant fuel costs.

The cost of medical supplies continues to rise, inflation is putting pressure on the cost of living, skills shortages continue to bite – and this not just impacting us, but the entire healthcare network.

But if there is one thing you can count on the Royal Flying Doctor Service to do – it is rise to the occasion.

I want to assure all of our supporters that your ongoing trust and support will be met with continuous improvement and a commitment to be there whenever a call comes in.

Dr Saranne Cooke

This year we launched our 5 Year Strategy, “Further Together”, a vision for the future of the South Eastern Section to ensure we can continue to provide that mantle of safety for modern regional, rural and remote NSW and ACT.

Speaking on behalf of the Board, we are particularly excited about the strategy. It helps us to solidify our position and impact in the community. It helps us to invest in skills and technology so that we are always on the leading ledge and ready to meet every challenge. It helps us to create enhanced career pathways so we can keep skilled people in our regions. And, most importantly, it puts us in more control of our financial sustainability so that the RFDS can continue to serve for another 100 years.

The outlook for the RFDS is very promising. I want to assure all of our supporters that your ongoing trust and support will be met with continuous improvement and a commitment to be there whenever a call comes in.

Together, we will continue to be the trusted guardians of healthcare in regional NSW and ACT.