16/08/2013 - 10:58

Worley sizes up RFDS challenge (with video)

16/08/2013 - 10:58

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The deepening relationship between WorleyParsons and the Royal Flying Doctor Service is a prime example of how partnerships between the corporate and not-for-profit sectors are shifting away from being purely financial.

The deepening relationship between WorleyParsons and the Royal Flying Doctor Service is a prime example of how partnerships between the corporate and not-for-profit sectors are shifting away from being purely financial. 

The deepening relationship between WorleyParsons and the Royal Flying Doctor Service is a prime example of how partnerships between the corporate and not-for-profit sectors are shifting away from being purely financial.

Engineering services firm WorleyParsons has provided financial support to the RFDS in the past, but is now is offering its expertise to help produce technical solutions aeromedical services.

One challenge facing the RFDS is the size of its workload, not only in terms of demand for its services, but also in managing increasingly larger patients who are either too tall or too heavy for its current infrastructure.

Patients who outweigh the maximum capacity of the stretchers used by the RFDS are required to lie on the floor of the aircraft, creating a safety risk for both the patient and RFDS staff.

In order to overcome this, the RFDS and WorleyParsons have created the Bariatric Aeromedical Stretcher and Loading System, which RFDS CEO Grahame Marshall said would be ready to use by December.

“It’s the first bariatric stretcher in an aeromedical sense in this country, and I think in the world,” Mr Marshall told Business News.

“Without the support of WorleyParsons we would not have had the capability to develop it ourselves.

“To tap into the resources of a great corporate partner … is a new way of doing business for us, and I think it’s the way of the future.”

WorleyParsons general manager of engineering, Stuart Payne, said the design of the stretcher had to take into account several factors unique to the circumstances faced by the RFDS.

“We focused on issues such as the fact that when the RFDS goes somewhere they’re often isn’t a paved surface, there aren’t power supplies available,” Mr Payne said.

As a result, the stretcher was designed to be quick and easy to assemble and manoeuvre and relied on battery power.

Mr Payne said the bariatric stretcher worked in tandem with the existing lifting device installed in the RFDS aircraft, as it would be too expensive to completely replace it.

“There’s nothing groundbreaking about the particular technology, but using it in this fashion is new,” he said.

There is potential for the stretcher to be applied to other forms of transport, and St John Ambulance is currently evaluating its suitability.

The Rio Tinto Life Flight Jet is another innovation that places the WA branch of the RFDS at the forefront of the aeromedical services industry.

Earlier this year Rio Tinto renewed its partnership with the RFDS for the support of the jet, which is capable of transporting up to three patients at a time and flying from one end of the state to the other in around three hours.

Other aircraft in the RFDS fleet take twice that time to travel the same distance, and also need to stop to refuel. 

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