Our Regional Treasure Chests Supporting West Australians

Date published

01 Oct 2019
Medical Chest

No matter where you are in WA, how remote and isolated, you are always within reach of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Medical chests are located in more than 500 national parks, mine sites, stations and rural communities, providing essential access to medical treatment for a wide range of situations. 

Guarding an extensive range of medicines and non-pharmaceutical items, each chest has the ability to treat a variety of medical conditions, from a minor wound to adrenalin to restart a heart.
Each chest is looked after by a custodian who has regular contact with our RFDS doctors. 

RFDS medical chest coordinator, Rosemarie Adams says the medical chest program is an essential service to our remote communities who can access treatment even though they may be hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest healthcare provider. 

“There are many cases where people in these communities - residents, travellers and workers, are saved a long distance trip to the doctor because of the range of items provided in the medical chest,” Rosemarie said. 

“If people are in a situation where they require an aero medical retrieval by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the patient can be prepared for the retrieval and receive preliminary treatment from the medical chest contents until the aircraft arrives. 

“Our medical chest custodians play a vital role in administering treatment to our remote patients. A RFDS doctor conducts a remote consultation via our telehealth service, prescribing medication using item identification numbers with the onsite custodian.” 

Supporting an area of 2.5 million square kilometres in Western Australia, the RFDS introduced medical chests in 1942 to distribute its services to areas that lack access to emergency medical treatment and pain relief.