Turning passion into action: National Reconciliation Week

Date published

27 May 2021

This year, the theme for National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) is ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’ – urging the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

clinic yakanarra

Here in Western Australia, the Royal Flying Doctor Service provides an essential ‘mantle of safety’ to people living in some of the most isolated and vulnerable communities.

Health service delivery in WA – the world’s most remote health jurisdiction – is a true team effort and we take this opportunity on National Reconciliation Week to celebrate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, patients and health partners we work with every day.

Our work on country sees our clinicians carrying their lifesaving care far and wide across WA’s vast regions via our remote health clinics, dental services, medical chests and 24-hour aeromedical retrieval service.   

Innovation has always been in the Flying Doctor’s DNA. Our crews have always had a long and proud history of being dedicated and determined problem-solvers and take pride in turning their passion into action.

In marking National Reconciliation Week, it is with great pride that we share with you stories from our crews who give their everything, every day, to provide the finest care to our patients who live in the furthest corners of WA.

womens gp clinics

Women's GP Clinics

Our Yakanarra Gender Specific GP Clinic in the Kimberley are in response to the pronounced cultural issues where women would not attend the male health practitioner for the health issues.

The engagement of a female doctor has encouraged more women to engage in their health and wellbeing; and of course, the Rural Women's GP Program which we administer is active across the state in increasing female GPs in regional areas.

Nola baby

RFDS Broome Medical Officer Dr Nola McPherson 

"We were transferring a patient from a remote Kimberley community, and I suspected they hadn't flown in a plane before," Dr Nola said.  

"I thought that might be quite scary for them on top of their feeling so unwell. When I asked, they confirmed it.

So, I asked if they could remember when they were in the overlander [vehicles] going over the corrugated tracks - when it goes up in the air for just a little while and they get that feeling of pushing upwards. They nodded so I continued on, telling them that being in the RFDS plane was kind of like that. It seemed to help reassure them."

Kal Colleen

RFDS Kalgoorlie Flight Nurse Colleen Reid 

"Being part of the Goldfields-Esperance community and beyond is special," Flight Nurse Colleen said. 

"The connection the Flying Doctor has with people on the land lasts forever. 

"For many of our patients, being flown out is a life-changing event. They look to us for comfort and reassurance which creates a bond. 

"This strengthens when they know we are from their town or area too. 

"We are 'one of theirs' and we 'get it'." 

Photo: The Jameson community coming out to greet the RFDS 

cockpit kids
Dr Steve Hill
Kate  Jones Yakanarra