The RFDS in SA/NT
What we do
RFDS Central Operations began in 1939 and delivers emergency aeromedical and community healthcare services throughout South Australia and the Northern Territory, be it an aeromedical evacuation, a GP and Community Health Nurse clinic, a telehealth call, a mental health or oral health clinic, or a child's immunisation.
Every year, we assist more than 56,000 patients in South Australia and the Northern Territory (Central Operations) - that's one patient every 10 minutes.
We operate four aeromedical bases in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin and Port Augusta, as well as three remote primary healthcare facilities in Andamooka, Marla and Marree in outback South Australia.
The RFDS is a not-for-profit organisation. While we receive support from governments, we rely on fundraising and donations to bridge the gap in operational funding, and to finance replacement aircraft, medical equipment and other major capital initiatives.
We exist to support healthier and happier Australians no matter where they live, work or play.
The RFDS has established a national RFDS COVID-19 Working Group to work closely with the Commonwealth and State Departments of Health in ensuring we can respond accordingly to this pandemic and deploy RFDS resources to outbreak areas if and when they are needed.Read more
Aeromedical Retrievals RFDS Central OperationsRead more
Primary Health Care
Regular fly-in GP and Community Health Nurse clinics are conducted fortnightly to remote stations and communities from our Port Augusta Base. Primary Health Care Services are also available from RFDS Port Augusta Base to those living, working and travelling in remote SA and at RFDS Health Services in Marree, Marla and Andamooka.Read more
Oral Health Care Program
The RFDS Oral Health Care Program offers a mobile dental and oral health care service to residents and communities throughout rural and remote South Australia and the Northern Territory. Regular ‘fly-in’ clinics provide opportunities for people of all ages living in remote locations to access high-quality dental care at no cost to the patient.Read more
The Flying Doctor manages the delivery of public health immunisation programs (including COVID-19) to rural and remote communities.Read more
RFDS Midwives work collaboratively with doctors and tertiary hospitals to provide the finest care for pregnant women living in rural and remote areas.Read more
Mental Health Training Out Bush
Our Mental Health Clinicians help remote residents access short-term assistance during tough times and longer-term support to manage conditions like anxiety and depression.Read more
RFDS Central Operations conducts over 20 aeromedical transfers every day of patients from a country hospital to a major metropolitan hospital for life-saving treatment or specialist medical treatment.Read more
Long-Haul (Interstate) Aeromedical Transfers
A game-changer in aeromedical care, the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 slashes total mission time of long-haul missions and delivers three critically-ill patients the finest care in the air.Read more
With requests from remote communities, RFDS has determined the benefit of co-locating Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) with each RFDS Medical Chest as these will potentially save lives.Read more
Clinic Charter Services
The RFDS has been a preferred provider of clinic charter services in Central Australia for many years, safely transporting NT Health primary and allied health professionals between isolated communities from Alice Springs Base. Following the successful renewal on the NT Government’s supplier panel for the Short-Haul Passenger Air Charter Service, the RFDS has commenced clinic charter services to NT Health in the Top End region operating from its new Darwin Base.Read more
Aboriginal Health Coordinator
The Aboriginal Health Coordinator focuses on providing a service specific to Aboriginal communities in South Australia. The position operates from the Port Augusta Base to liaise with Aboriginal patients of all ages, RFDS staff and health professionals.Read more
Darwin RFDS Base
Darwin Base commenced operations in December 2017. The new purpose-built facility enables the RFDS to fulfil its strategic goal of providing the finest care through the entire north-south corridor of the Northern Territory and South Australia. The Base provides 24-hour emergency evacuations and inter-hospital transfers in addition to regular charter services to NT Health for the transport of health professionals delivering remote fly-in clinics throughout the Top End.
Alice Springs RFDS Base
The Alice Springs Base provides 24-hour emergency evacuations and inter-hospital transfers by our team of Pilots, Flight Nurses and Engineers. It serves an area of approximately 1.25 million square kilometres from Marla in northern South Australia to Elliot and Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory, and beyond the border regions of Western Australia and Queensland. Crews also provide regular charter services to NT Health for the transport of health professionals working throughout Central Australia. The Mental Health Services Rural & Remote Areas Program delivered by RFDS mental health clinicians is also based in Alice Springs.
Alice Springs is also home to our award-winning RFDS Alice Springs Tourist Facility, which in recent years has undergone a major redevelopment to enhance its presence and improve the tourist experience for locals and visitors from all over the world. The RFDS Alice Springs Base also benefits from the Bill and Dawn Prior Village of 13 townhouses used as accommodation for staff and visiting clinicians.
Port Augusta RFDS Base
RFDS Central Operations’ state-of-the-art Operations Communications Centre is located at Port Augusta Base, from which our Operations Coordinators receive emergency calls, plan and assign all 24-hour emergency retrieval and inter-hospital transfer flights from Adelaide, Alice Springs, Port Augusta and Darwin, whilst also providing after-hours back up for the Broken Hill Base (operated by South Eastern Section).
The Port Augusta Base is headquarters of the RFDS Primary Health Care Service which serves an area of 840,000 square kilometres, providing comprehensive primary health care services to residents in the Far West and North West regions of SA. Services include 24-hour tele-health consultations, remote fly-in primary health care clinics offering specialist chronic disease, mental health, oral health, maternal health, breast cancer and community health nurses/clinicians.
In addition to our core of Doctors, Pilots, Flight Nurses, Engineers and Operations Coordinators, our Aboriginal Health Coordinator, Community Health Nurses, Lifestyle Advisor, Dentist and Dental Hygienist are based in Port Augusta enabling them to focus on serving people in isolated communities.
The John Flynn's Memorial Historical Reserve is the resting place for the ashes of the Reverend John Flynn, founder of the Flying Doctor Service and the Australian Inland Mission.
The grave is on a low hill at the foot of the MacDonnell Ranges. The plaque expresses a lifetime achievement in just a few lines "His vision encompassed the continent". He established the Australian Inland Mission and founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He brought to lonely places a spiritual ministry and spread a mantle of safety over them by medicine and the radio.’
Click here to know more about John Reverend Flynn.
Our FleetOur Fleet
RFDS Central Operations operates 18 Pilatus PC-12 aircraft capable of carrying two stretchered patients in a full aeromedical fitout. They have a hydraulic lifting device to move stretchers on and off the aircraft through a dedicated cargo door. There are seats for a Doctor, Flight Nurse and one passenger.
RFDS Central Operations took delivery of its first permanently configured aeromedical jet in 2019, the RFDS Medi-Jet 24. A game changer in aeromedical care, the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 slashes total mission time and delivers three critically-ill patients the finest care in the air.Read more