Graphic: Alex Scamps
Late last year, Ruth Sandow completed her 3-year term as President for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) and I was honoured to be nominated for the role of President, with Ruth moving to the position of Vice President.
As I begin this new role, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and my ambitions for the service in the coming years as we develop and grow in support of our communities. When I am not working on Flying Doctor matters, I work at QANTAS as Head of Fleet Operations where I manage our global flight operations, a role that is meeting considerable challenges as COVID-19 continues to impact the travel industry. I am also a 737 Captain with QANTAS and have been serving on the Board of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) since May 2017. From November 2018, I served as Vice President. In my board activities, I have drawn on my industry background to help us build sustainable growth and to strengthen our operational capacity.
Whilst I am based in Sydney, I am dedicated to ensuring bush communities get the quality healthcare services they need and deserve. I am grateful that our Board includes many vocal advocates who live in these communities. I will seek their counsel on community concerns and remain focused on how we can listen to, understand, and meet the needs of the people living and travelling through these communities.
Last year, our service has proven to be responsive and adaptable in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus itself and the disruption it has caused across our country. Our dedicated teams, both on the frontline and in support capacities, have adapted to new ways of working. Together, we have worked to ensure the safety of our communities by quickly adopting new PPE procedures, establishing respiratory clinics, and supporting with transportation of healthcare workers when domestic flights were disrupted.
Throughout last year, we continued to deliver emergency retrieval and clinical services. I want to thank our teams for their efforts and the tireless work they do for our communities every day.
Regardless of the disruption COVID-19 has presented, we are pushing ahead with determination to develop our Mental Health resources through our Wellbeing Place, and expanding our services into the North-West NSW corridor, alongside our traditional services and emergency retrieval, which continues to be of vital and life-saving importance.
I would like to take a moment to send a big thanks to our generous donors, community fundraisers, partners, auxiliaries, support groups, and volunteers for their support – without you, the extent of our work and our ability to grow to meet the needs of people in our region simply would not be possible. If you are among these fine people, I offer my sincere thanks.
As we look back on a challenging 2020 and look forward with optimism to a positive 2021 ahead, I wish you a healthy and happy year.
President, RFDS SE Section