RFDS WA FMG Heli on FSH Heli pad

RFDS WA Celebrates 100 Heli-Med Retrievals

Date published

30 Mar 2023

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) WA is celebrating 100 retrievals by the Fortescue Heli-Med Service EC145 helicopters.

The two helicopters joined the RFDS fleet on May 9 2022 and have transferred patients from 29 different sites and flown more than 34,000 thousand kilometres.

The helicopters are used to retrieve patients from within a 250 kilometre radius of the RFDS base in Jandakot and can land directly on the helipads at Royal Perth Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Perth Children’s Hospital.


RFDS Lead Rotary Doctor John Iliff says the introduction of the helicopters has made a significant improvement in transfer times for patients.

“When we land at Jandakot in our fixed wing aircraft, it does require patients to then be taken by ambulance to hospital in Perth,” said Dr Iliff. “The helicopters take out that journey and get patients to their ultimate destination, quicker.”

The most common retrieval sites to date have been Rottnest (17), Bunbury (11), Narrogin (9), Moora (8), Busselton (7) and Northam (7).

RFDS WA is the first section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service to use helicopters in its 95 year history in Australia.

Patients of all ages have been transferred by the helicopters, including three aged under 9 years old and three aged over 90.

Image captured by RFDS WA Flight Nurse Libby Stearne