Saranne Cooke

Graphic: Saranne Cooke

Message from our Chair

Date published

26 Apr 2023

As the RFDS prepares to celebrate its 95th Birthday, it's important we reflect on where we've come from and the people who have gotten us to where we are now.

At the Flying Doctor we are energised and excited about delivering healthcare to communities right across Western and Far West NSW.  

As we approach our 95th birthday, which we will celebrate on May 17, it’s important that we reflect on where we’ve come from and the people who helped us get there, as well as the exciting direction we are taking for the future.  

When we look at people who have championed the RFDS and its cause, Judy Jakins was in a class of her own. We had the chance to reflect on her tremendous input when she sadly passed away in February.  

Dr Saranne Cooke, RFDSSE Chair

Put simply, without Judy’s commitment, the RFDS would not have such a strong presence in Dubbo and our footprint across NSW would not be as large as it is today.

Judy understood the importance of the services that the Flying Doctor offered from growing up and raising a family on a remote property outside of Bourke. When she became the first woman to represent the Nationals in the NSW Legislative Council between 1984 and 1991, rural and remote healthcare was a strong focus.

When her time in politics drew to a close, Judy turned her attention to the Flying Doctor. She was a founding member of the RFDS Dubbo Support Group in 1993, would go on to serve as its chair, and was instrumental in a grassroots campaign to have a base located at Dubbo. Her dream was realised in 1999 when the base opened at Dubbo Airport.

Having a base at Dubbo allowed the Flying Doctor to serve a much larger area, operating between Broken Hill and Dubbo. With the introduction of primary health clinics to north-western NSW from our Dubbo base in 2022, we continue to build on Judy’s legacy.

It’s an important reminder how lucky the Flying Doctor is to have amazing supporters like you who understand the significance of the work we do, and how critical it is that people in the most remote corners of our country have access to high quality healthcare.

We couldn’t do it without you.