Graphic: New RFDS CEO

New RFDS CEO appointed for Western Australia

Date published

31 Aug 2022

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Western Operations) is pleased to announce Judith Barker is set to become its new Chief Executive Officer following an extensive recruitment process.

Ms Barker will bring more than 25 years’ experience in health and emergency services to the RFDS when she commences her role in mid-October.

RFDS WO Board Chair Sam Walsh AO said Ms Barker had a great depth of experience, knowledge and skill that would benefit the strategic priorities and future direction of the service.

‘The RFDS is going through an exciting period of growth and innovation in WA. Judith’s proven ability to make positive change and to lead service organisations with passion and integrity made her an excellent choice for the role,’ said Mr Walsh.

‘She has extensive experience in managing complex projects and programs, and building productive stakeholder connections.’

Ms Barker will move to WA from the Northern Territory, where she has been CEO of St John NT for the past four years. Ms Barker has previously worked in roles including Chief Operating Officer and Director of Service Performance and Improvement with the South Australian Ambulance Service. She began her career as a paramedic in Western Australia. Ms Barker has a Masters in Business Administration and university qualifications in health science.

Ms Barker said she was very excited to join the RFDS and return to her hometown after several years living interstate.

‘It will be such a privilege to lead an organisation that is so well known and loved by Western Australians. I look forward to getting to know the RFDS team and its many partners and supporters across the State,’ said Ms Barker.

Mr Walsh said the Board also wished to acknowledge the significant contribution made by outgoing CEO Rebecca Tomkinson.

‘Rebecca leaves the RFDS in WA in excellent shape, with a clear flight path for the future,’ he said.

‘During Rebecca’s tenure, the service has achieved significant growth and new capability to meet the needs of regional healthcare for the next generation.’

The RFDS in WA employees around 400 doctors, flight nurses, pilots, logistics coordinators, engineers and support teams who are located at five bases across the State. The service has 22 aircraft and currently flies to the assistance of around 27 patients each day.