03/12/2008 - 13:00

Flying Doctor receives funding boost

03/12/2008 - 13:00

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The state government has lived up to an election promise to boost funding for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, announcing today that it would provide an extra $29.9 million from its Royalties for Regions scheme.

Flying Doctor receives funding boost

The state government has lived up to an election promise to boost funding for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, announcing today that it would provide an extra $29.9 million from its Royalties for Regions scheme.

This is on top of the $38.5 million already committed by the previous government.

 

Below is the announcement:

 

People living in Western Australia's regional areas can look forward to improved access to hospital care in Perth with an extra $68.5million in state government funding for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Health Minister Dr Kim Hames said the Liberal-National Government was delivering on an election promise by providing the RFDS with an additional $29.9million.

This extra funding is being delivered from the Royalties for Regions scheme and is over and above the $38.6million committed by the previous government earlier this year.

The extra funding will bring total State Government funding for the RFDS to more than $171million over the five years to 2012-13.

"This Government recognises and values the role of the RFDS as an essential service for Western Australians living, working and travelling in rural and remote areas of the State," he said.

"The additional funding will provide more aircraft, pilots, doctors and nurses and means the RFDS will be able to meet response times to required safety standards."

The extra funding allows the RFDS to replace five of its ageing aircraft and purchase three additional planes (bringing the fleet to a total of 14 aircraft). The additional three aircraft will based at Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie and Jandakot, as well as provide extra crews and medical staff.

"The additional funding paves the way for the RFDS to work with the WA Country Health Service to further enhance services, for example, through improving the orientation and assessment program for overseas trained doctors," Dr Hames said.

"Funding may also be used towards housing for an extra RFDS crew to be based at Port Hedland or to replace outdated stretchers and loading devices with next generation equipment to increase patient and staff safety."

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said RFDS played a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of rural patients, especially those needing emergency treatment.
"We have seen the RFDS stretched by a 17 per cent increase in the level of demand for its services across WA over the past five years," Mr Grylls said.

"This has highlighted the urgent need to provide improved access to health services through better patient transport for country communities."

Mr Grylls said the increased funding would ensure RFDS could meet demand for its services now and into the future.

"With the help of this extra funding, patients needing to be transferred to Perth from hospitals in regional WA can be assured that they will have access to a safe and appropriate level of service," the Minister said.

"Our extra funding allocation demonstrates the Liberal-National Government is committed to ensuring Western Australians have access to quality health services no matter where they live."

RFDS Chief Executive Officer Tim Shackleton said the additional funding would provide enormous relief for RFDS.

"In the past 18 months, there has been a lot of assessment of RFDS requirements to meet the needs of rural and remote Western Australian patients," Mr Shackleton said.

"The new government has fully recognised this and is showing it is prepared to further build the capacity of the RFDS to respond to requests more quickly.

"We will, of course, still need our valuable community supporters and corporate sponsors to help us fund things like additional medical equipment, bush clinics and major health-related projects."

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