RFDS receives grant under the NGO Flood Recovery Program

Graphic: RFDS receives grant under the NGO Flood Recovery Program

RFDS receives grant under the NGO Flood Recovery Program

Date published

21 Dec 2023

The RFDS is delighted to receive government recognition for our life-saving work delivering health clinics to flood-affected rural areas across NSW, with a $200,000 grant to help sustain these life-saving services as communities continue to recover from the devastation.

Extensive flooding through regional, rural and remote areas of NSW in August and September 2022 resulted in 58 local government areas being designated as disaster zones. The grant will help the RFDS to keep providing these essential health services on a more sustainable footing.

Since the flood emergency unfolded in late 2022, the RFDS was able to respond swiftly to meet very sudden increases in demand for health care. Numbers of patients seen in the 12 months to June 2023 at many RFDS clinics in flood-hit rural NSW communities doubled, trebled or increased by even greater margins compared to patient numbers seen before the event. As well as caring for dramatically increased numbers of patients, the RFDS was able to adjust the services provided – including the delivery of vaccinations against Japanese Encephalitis, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease that has been listed by NSW Health as being of ‘high concern’ in a number of affected LGAs since the floods occurred.

The RFDS was announced this month as one of 49 non-government organisations (NGOs) to win a share of $6.88m through the NGO Flood Recovery Program, which is funded jointly by the Australian and NSW governments. Flood-affected LGAs in which the RFDS delivers primary health care services include Bourke, Brewarrina, Central Darling, Cobar, Gilgandra, Walgett, Warren, Wentworth, and the Unincorporated Far West region.

Graphic: Tilpa clinic_

Jenny Beach, General Manager of Health Services for the RFDS South Eastern Section, thanked the Australian and NSW governments, as well as grant administrators the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, for the support and said the grant funding would be of huge help in helping RFDS continue our life-saving work.

“We’re delighted to win this funding – the health services the RFDS delivers are even more vitally important for disaster-hit communities, and the extra support will help us to continue this important work,” Ms Beach said.

“Our healthcare, aviation and other teams are highly trained, extremely committed, and it means the world to them to have this support to keep doing what they love.”

Jenny Beach

Graphic: Tilpa clinic

RFDS clinics draw on the skills of GPs, primary health care nurses, mental health clinicians, infection control nurses, alcohol and drug clinicians, and community engagement officers and others.

Services provided include chronic disease screening and identification (including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers); sexual health screening; mental health screening; pathology requests; counselling and treatment for alcohol and other drug use; early childhood development monitoring; women’s health clinics; and a range of vaccinations.