nqphn telehealth

RFDS to extend telehealth services to Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay

Date published

05 Apr 2023

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) has announced that the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has taken over as the lead provider to deliver afterhours telehealth services across the Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay regions.

RDFS has a strong track record in meeting the health care needs of local communities in North Queensland.

The NQPHN Health Needs Assessment (HNA) 2022-24 confirmed a lack of fully comprehensive afterhours services, including general practices and pharmacies, with people finding it difficult to access afterhours care, particularly where services were already limited during normal hours.

NQPHN’s After Hours Primary Care Program aims to address this issue by delivering accessible and effective primary health care to people whose health condition can’t wait for treatment during normal hours.

NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte said RFDS was selected as the lead provider following a robust tendering process to ensure timely access to safe and high-quality afterhours services for North Queenslanders.

“There is a significant need for timely access to afterhours health care across our region and we are pleased to be working with RDFS to deliver this important service,” she said.

“RFDS has been providing afterhours telehealth services in the Torres and Cape region and with the newly awarded contract, their services will expand across the Cairns and Hinterland, Townsville, and Mackay regions.

“Vulnerable populations, such as First Nations communities and those living in rural and remote areas, will also be a priority.”

Ms Whyte said the appointment of RFDS as the lead provider meant services would transition to RFDS from the outgoing service provider, House Call Doctor.

“We thank House Call Doctor for their work and providing afterhours telehealth services for the Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay regions,” she said.

“We look forward to working with RFDS to integrate the afterhours service offering across the NQPHN region.”

RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said telehealth services were critical to the very fabric of healthcare delivery and the Flying Doctor was proud to be supporting NQPHN in this increased capacity.

“Telehealth services support better access to specialists, facilitate earlier diagnosis for patients, and have also been proven to decrease the number of aeromedical retrievals and hospital admissions required,” Ms Staib said.

“The Flying Doctor is dedicated to connecting Queenslanders in regional, rural, and remote locations to world-class healthcare, and we provide more than 17,000 telehealth consultations annually across the state.

“The trust placed in us by NQPHN is reflective of our proven history and steadfast commitment to delivering care that makes a real difference to the lives of Queenslanders - no matter where they live.”

The afterhours telehealth service provided by RFDS complements the afterhours primary care already provided in North Queensland.