Graphic: Mt. Gambier PTF
The RFDS joined SA's South-East community in July to mark the official launch and first anniversary of its first regional undercover Patient Transfer Facility.
While the Patient Transfer Facility (PTF) became operational mid last year, COVID-19 restrictions put a hold on formal launch plans.
However, the delay did not dampen local excitement to celebrate the project's completion.
More than 200 residents and businesspeople - all of whom contributed to the project through cash or in-kind donations - attended the official opening at the PTF.
The new Patient Transfer Facility enables RFDS and SA Ambulance crews to treat and stabilise patients in a climate-controlled environment, especially relevant given Mount Gambier's typically wet winters.
In the first 12 months of opening, the facility was used by the RFDS on 308 of 365 days to airlift a local patient. Overall, 586 flights were undertaken from Mount Gambier, providing vital care to 740 local patients.
Of these, there were 100 life-threatening aeromedical tasks – all patients who were able to stabilised in privacy and comfort.
RFDS Central Operations Chairman Peter de Cure attended the official launch and said the facility had set a new standard in patient care and operational response times.
"This has been a fantastic conversion project – one which required ‘thinking outside the square’ and the steadfast support from all corners of the community," he said.
"In recognition of its contribution to patient care and experience within the SA health system, the RFDS Mt Gambier Patient Transfer Facility was named winner of the ‘Innovation category’ in this year’s SA Health Supplier Awards.
"Importantly, more than 800 Limestone Coast residents and businesses donated cash or in-kind services to enable the completion of this project.
"Given the RFDS lands in the South-East at least twice a day, this incredible community generosity has directly impacts the lives of people they know and it will continue to do so for generations to come."