Graphic: RFDS Victoria purchases health clinic in Robinvale
On Monday 1 May 2023, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Victoria will officially acquire the Robinvale District Medical Centre (RDMC).
RFDS Victoria has been in consultation with the clinic’s former owner and sole GP, Dr Jane Neyland, since late 2021, when Dr Neyland approached RFDS Victoria to discuss the possibility of the Flying Doctor taking over ownership of her clinic. As RFDS Victoria has been an active presence in Robinvale for many years through its GP, telehealth and speech therapy services, the not-for-profit organisation welcomed the invitation.
“RFDS Victoria believes that health inequity is unacceptable, and that where a person lives should not be a barrier to accessing great health care,” says RFDS Victoria Chief Executive, Scott Chapman.
“Through our involvement in the Robinvale community, we have gained a deep understanding of the unique challenges the town faces, and we are committed to providing steadfast support over the long term. We are eager to contribute our expertise in health care logistics and clinic management to ensure the people living in this area can continue to access quality health care in their own community.”
RFDS Victoria recognises and respects the expertise of local health care providers, and always seeks to support local practitioners, rather than replace them. Their goal as new owners of RDMC is to build a sustainable clinic with different options for care provision, which will allow precious GP resources to focus on complex health issues.
In early February, RFDS’s national office released its latest report, Best for the Bush, which found that compared to major cities, females living in very remote areas are likely to die 19 years earlier, and men 13.9 years earlier. Additionally, the report found that people in remote and very remote areas are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalised for potentially preventable reasons.
Many small communities across Victoria, including Robinvale, have significant health care needs and access barriers, which contribute to these communities having worse health outcomes. Through the purchase of this Robinvale clinic, RFDS Victoria hopes to help address Victoria’s rural health care imbalance.
“We are excited about this new partnership with Dr Neyland and her team, and we look forward to working together to provide all community members with a strong local health service that will respect the unique community needs and cultures,” says Mr Chapman.
This clinic forms a part of the Flying Doctor Health Group program. It is delivered in partnership with Robinvale District Health Service, with the clinic to be co-located on their premises. Flying Doctor Health Group is actively recruiting local GPs for the Robinvale clinic, with interested parties encouraged to contact the team on (03) 5026 1744.