Primary Health

RFDS increases primary health clinics grow in north-west of NSW to meet demand

Date published

26 Jun 2024

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has expanded its Primary Health team based out of Dubbo, in order to increase the number of clinics it offers to remote communities in north-western NSW.

After starting out as a one nurse and one doctor outfit servicing six locations; Grawin, Enngonia, Weilmoringle, The Marra, Hebel and Nymagee, a total of three nurses and two doctors now provide regular clinics.

Kerri Rothery

Grawin, a small mining community located an hour west of Lightning Ridge, has proven to be particularly successful. The monthly clinic was so well attended that it became fortnightly, and the demand has continued, so that clinics are now weekly. Others have also made the transition to fortnightly clinics due to demand. Weilmoringle continues to be a monthly clinic.

“I think the community has received the new schedule and the increase of services with open arms,” RFDS South Eastern Section Primary Health Team Leader Kerri Rothery said.

“As we’ve had more team members come on board, we’ve changed days for some clinics and these seem to have suited those communities better. Our Doctors and Nurses are building a rapport with those communities.”


In addition to the GP-led clinics, the team are now offering monthly nurse-led clinics at rotating locations. Whereas the GP clinics have a particular focus, such as an illness or injury, the nurse-led clinics are longer appointments that take an overall look at a patient’s health, such as annual immunisations, risk assessments for particular diseases relevant to the patient’s age, or for children, making sure they are on track with their growth milestones.“We have the opportunity to dig a little bit further to find out how you're really going, and if there are any underlying issues,” Kerri said.

“We might notice that someone has had their annual blood test, or they are behind on their immunisations, diabetes risk assessments, cardiovascular risk assessments. There are so many things we can make sure are being followed up.“It also helps with that rapport with our patients.”

Kerri said the expansion over the last two years had been done to meet the needs of communities but in a sustainable way.

“Each of these communities is different. Some are tight-knit towns like Enngonia, whereas somewhere like The Marra is quite spread out, in that it is farming properties. So each has their own needs and we have focused on catering each clinic to meet those needs,” Kerri said.