Graphic: RFDS Dermatologist
The more remote you get, the greater the challenge of accessing medical services becomes.
This is why the RFDS strives to provide more healthcare services to where people live.
For many who live in rural and remote Queensland communities, their nearest doctor, let alone specialist dermatologist, is hundreds of kilometers away.
In conjunction with the primary health care team at RFDS Charleville Base, Dr Stephen Andrews is a Dermatologist who periodically flies in and out of locations across south-western regional Queensland, conducting clinics that offer skin cancer surveillance and management.
“The program I am involved in was previously provided primarily by Dr Jon Outridge, a highly experienced rural general practitioner with an interest in the detection and treatment of skin cancer,” Stephen said.
“I was offered the opportunity to continue some of Dr Outridge’s valuable work, joining Charleville RFDS’s small, but very skilled team of rural general practitioners, to help see patients in remote areas seeking skin cancer surveillance.
“To a certain degree, it feels like I have come full-circle in that I undertook three fantastic student medical rotations a decade ago at the RFDS Charleville Base, and that gave me the chance to meet many members of the team who are still here today, and I am privileged to now consider them colleagues.”
Dr Andrews is committed to providing a similar rural experience for vocational trainees in Dermatology, with the aim that when they finish their specialty training, they might consider outreach work as part of their service to our community.
A dermatology registrar from the Queensland Institute of Dermatology accompanies Dr Andrews and the RFDS team on their outreach skin clinics, not only to assist, but to expose them to the rewards, and challenges, of remote healthcare delivery.
“There are great benefits for both organisations working collaboratively in this field,” he said.
“Being part of a multi-disciplinary team, such as at the RFDS Charleville Base, is rewarding in that as clinicians, we can share experiences and educate each other, ultimately for the benefit of our patients.”
We look forward to seeing further success from the implementation of this service.