Dr Charles with aircraft

Graphic: Dr Charles with aircraft

Celebrating a 20-year journey of compassionate care with RFDS

Date published

30 Mar 2024

From the top end to the far west, Dr Charles Ellis-Hallett has dedicated the past twenty years to delivering invaluable care to many regional, rural and remote communities.

When he's not tending to his garden or competing in triathlons, Dr Charles is the Medical Lead, Primary Health Care at the RFDS Charleville Base. He plays a key role at the RFDS, providing essential primary health care to those living in rural and remote Queensland.

Dr Charles shared that he never imagined he’d have the necessary skillset to work for the RFDS; however, following diverse training experiences in the Northen Territory, it became evident that it was a calling he couldn’t resist.  

“I love the job; every day is interesting, and every patient is important,” Dr Charles shared.

“The diversity of what we do is amazing, so much so that sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it is true.”

Dr Charles

For the past two decades, Dr. Charles has navigated a wide array of responsibilities. One day he's aiding a patient in quitting smoking, while the next he's administering intensive care in the confines of an aircraft.

Dr Charles vividly recalls a day at the Birdsville clinic when he received a concerned call from a young family on an isolated property, as two of their children got gastroenteritis and the parents were quite anxious.

"We flew out to their property to assess the children and provide them with medication, after which we stayed with them for an hour until we were comfortable that they would be ok,” he said.

"I gave them a call in the evening and spoke to them daily over the next few days as the children improved.

"It's incredible to realise just how vital the service is to those in remote locations, and to be able to provide peace of mind for the family without them needing to leave their property and their other responsibilities in order to receive medical care."

It's moments like these where our frontline workers truly feel the significance of their daily contributions.

Young Dr Charles

Dr Charles’s journey began as a young doctor stationed at the Cairns Base, but throughout his time with the RFDS he has moved across the state and taken each opportunity as he went.

“I was one of the youngest doctors in the RFDS, back when I started,” he said.

“I have progressed to be the Primary Health Lead in Cairns and now Charleville, where I am part of our Senior Medical Lead team.

“Our wonderful team ensures the quality of care and how it is delivered to rural and remote Queensland.”

Dr Charles remains in his role not just for career growth, but for the heartfelt connections formed with the patients they support.

“Years ago, I was called to help a young patient with severe burns, which had reached the point where I had to prepare the father for the possibility his son might not survive,” he shared.

“Years later, I was at an RFDS ball, where a woman recognised my name.

“She returned with her fiancé, who she introduced as the patient we had saved all those years ago.

"The patient's heartfelt gratitude, shared alongside his growing family and beautiful children, filled me with an indescribable sense of pride in the work we do."

In the spirit of National Doctor’s Day, Dr Charles shared some advice for young doctors.

“Remember to learn something new every day,” he said.

“Treat your patients how you’d want your relatives to be cared for and remember that everyone you look after has an interesting story, you just have to find out what it is.”

We take this moment to extend our appreciation to Dr Charles for his remarkable 20-year dedication and invaluable contributions to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“I’d like to thank my family for supporting me to do this,” Dr Charles expressed.