The RFDS in WA
Our Work on Country
The RFDS WO is committed to providing culturally responsive, safe, and appropriate access to health care services that are respectful and improve health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Islander Australians. We acknowledge the importance of Cultural Safety which is about community and the empowerment of individual peoples being empowered to manage their own health and wellbeing and social issues. Living on Country is a significant reason why many residents choose to live in remote Aboriginal communities across the State. This influences their connection to Country, culture, spirituality, family and community and has a positive impact on their social and emotional wellbeing – a significant part of Cultural Safety.
The RFDS WO has developed a Strategic Priorities Plan which outlines RFDS WO’s commitment to create social and economic opportunities through its actions and services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Strategic Priorities will also guide the provision of culturally responsive health services and ensure that the work we do meets the needs of Western Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
These services will include:
- Creating and developing strategic partnerships to improve the development and management of health services for Aboriginal people.
- Strengthening and embedding an approach to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people living in Western Australia.
- Increasing Aboriginal consumer, carer and community involvement to enhance access to and delivery of culturally appropriate health services.
Graphic: Women's 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.
Graphic: Kimberley Patient Transfer
RFDS Broome Dr Nola McPherson
"We were transferring a patient from a remote Kimberley community, and I suspected they hadn't flown in a plane before. I thought that might be quite scary for them on top of their feeling so unwell. When I asked, they confirmed it," Dr Nola said.
"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."