Drones to overcome distance for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Queensland

Date published

16 Apr 2019

This Tuesday 16th of April, Queensland’s leaders in UAV & drone technology will meet to help the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) overcome one of the organisations biggest challenges - the tyranny of distance.

During the 2017/2018 financial year the Service travelled for over 22,500 hours across 7.7 million kilometres. Medical services needed by people living in rural and remote areas of Australia are no different to services required in Queensland’s cities, but the vast distances that small rural populations travel to access health services provides a real challenge.

Currently, the Service travel to communities and aeromedical emergencies by both road and of course air, but the RFDS are keen to take advantage of new technology that will enable clinicians and pilots to reach the furthest corners of our state more quickly and more economically than ever before ensuring the Flying Doctor remains at the forefront of saving lives and promoting healthcare.

There are a range of ways in which drones & UAVs could be introduced to the Service, including surveying remote airplane landing runways and even using them to deliver time-critical medicines and equipment e.g. snake anti-venom.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) & World of Drones Education will host the Drones in Health Care Think Tank that will gather leading aviation and UAV experts from around the state to collaborate and devise a frame work for using drones to improve healthcare in rural and remote Queensland communities.

About RFDS (Queensland Section):
The RFDS employs over 400 people in Queensland with positions ranging from pilots,
doctors, nurses, engineers, allied health professionals, and a variety of administration and
support services roles including finance, marketing and human resources. With its
Queensland head office located at the Brisbane Airport, the RFDS operates 19 aircraft from
nine operational bases located in Brisbane,

Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Charleville, Mount Isa, Longreach and Roma.
The RFDS’s emergency retrieval service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
delivering the finest care to more than 290,000 Australians each year, that’s one person
every two minutes. This iconic service has expanded to provide regular transfers of patients for life-saving surgery such as organ transplants and heart surgery, delivering critical support to those who need it most.

About World of Drones Education:
Dr Catherine Ball runs a number of companies in the drone ecosystem and also hosts the
annual World of Drones Congress (worldofdrones.com.au) in Brisbane. Catherine has a
breadth of industry knowledge and works with State and Federal agencies on projects to
bring ‘drones for good’ into real practice. As drone advisor to the DFAT Pacific Humanitarian

Challenge Catherine engaged with the UN and World Bank amongst other global NGOs
around the ethical and appropriate use of drones in humanitarian and emergency contexts.

Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) Media
0407 595 014