Aeromedical Retrieval

The RFDS in Western Australia provide aero medical and retrieval services across 2.5 million square kilometres of our state. These can be broadly categorised as primary response or secondary (inter-hospital) transport.

Primary Response

A primary response occurs when a person becomes seriously ill or injured and requires evacuation by air from a location without medical facilities, to the nearest hospital infrastructure. For a primary response, the RFDS may fly to an isolated property, such as a station, mine site, road house or small community, to a remote health facility, or to an accident site itself. The RFDS provides this service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Inter-Hospital Transfers

Inter-hospital transfer involves the aero medical transport of patients between hospital facilities. This usually occurs when patients with serious illness or injury require medical retrieval to a large regional or tertiary centre for definitive care.

Aircraft Used

At present we use the Pilatus PC-12 and Hawker 800XP jet for aero medical and retrieval work in WA. All aircraft have a permanent medical configuration and are fully outfitted with state-of-the-art medical retrieval equipment. They are capable of speeds of up to 500 kilometres per hour with a range of 1,500 kilometres. They are pressurised, enabling patients to be flown at the equivalent of sea level, or at higher altitudes to avoid bad weather.

In Western Australia, the RFDS assists over 60,000 people each year, flying almost 8 million kilometres and transporting over 9,000 patients. At all of our facilities, aircraft are available to respond to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Aircraft are staffed with a pilot and flight nurse, and when required, a doctor, and depending on the case can carry two stretchered patients at a time.