Graphic: New RFDS Mount Isa Base

Public support needed for new Flying Doctor Base

Date published

10 May 2021

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) is taking the next step in its statewide infrastructure plan, announcing today its plans for a new aeromedical base to service regional, rural and remote Queensland.

The new, built-for-purpose base in Mount Isa will replace the existing, 60-year-old facility and allow Flying Doctor crews to deliver even greater levels of patient care.

Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the service is calling on the assistance of its loyal supporters to help with the build.

“The Flying Doctor is now calling on the help of its supporters to help raise $3.2 million to support the build of a new base,” she said.

“The new facility will feature improved transfer facilities for patients, new break rooms for on-call clinical staff and additional car parking for staff and emergency vehicles.

“The patient transfer facility will allow our crews to move patients from RFDS aircraft to Queensland Ambulance Vehicles out of the elements and in a comfortable, clinical environment, ensuring the best patient care possible.”

Graphic: Ebony and Joe Robertson with their son Ollie

Ms Staib said the new facility would bring more than just greater levels of healthcare to the north west.

“In Mount Isa, the RFDS generates $16.3 million of economic activity per year and supports 119 full-time equivalent jobs,” she said.

“We expect the build of this base to generate 43 new full-time jobs and provide around $3.7 million in wages and salaries.

“We will be seeking further funding for the new base through the Commonwealth Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, with the remainder of the cost of the build being sourced through philanthropic support.”

Each year RFDS Mount Isa crews transport almost 950 patients to emergency and specialist care. They also deliver primary health care services to more than 5,400 patients each year, from Burketown to Bedourie.

Former Burketown resident, Ebony Robertson, was one of these patients, receiving primary health care via the regular RFDS clinic in Burketown throughout her first pregnancy.

However, it was the subsequent care and two emergency retrievals of her newborn son, Ollie, who was born with two separate heart conditions, which highlighted to her the importance of the Flying Doctor rural and remote areas across Queensland.

“Without the support of the Flying Doctor in Mount Isa, Ollie’s story may have been very different,” Mrs Robertson said.

“But as much as we rely on the RFDS, they also rely on us. If anyone is thinking of donating to the RFDS, I would highly encourage it. They saved my son’s life.”

Anyone who wishes to donate to the RFDS Mount Isa Base Appeal can do so at rfds.co/flyingdoctor