SAVING LIVES FOR 

90 YEARS

Responding to need in Country Australia

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FLYING DOCTOR

RFDS is vital for those that live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world.

Our Story

RFDS provides excellence in aeromedical and primary health care across Australia.

Our Crew

Our people are dedicated and passionate about bringing first class health and emergency services to people in the bush.

Our Patients

The Flying Doctor’s services are vital to those who live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia.

About the Flying Doctor

The RFDS is helping someone every 2 minutes of every day.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world, providing extensive primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to people over an area of 7.69 million square kilometres.


With an aeromedical air ambulance service that can reach anywhere in Australia, the RFDS provides emergency evacuations for people who are seriously ill or injured and require urgent medical attention. Flying Doctor planes are fitted out with the best emergency medical equipment and transport patients to an appropriate hospital for further treatment.


Our Mission - To provide excellence in aeromedical and primary health care across Australia.


Our people are dedicated and passionate about bringing first class health and emergency services to people in the bush. We are very much part of the communities we service.

The challenges of health access outside Australia’s cities make the Flying Doctor’s services vital to those who live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia. Our job is all about doing all we can to improve health outcomes and save lives. 


Operating across vast distances, harsh landscapes, and in far from ideal conditions, necessitates resilience, resourcefulness, innovation and a continual striving for excellence.


Delivered by a dedicated team of professionals, using the latest in aviation, medical and communications technology, and supported by a vast number of volunteers and supporters, the RFDS is vital for those that live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia.


With the responsibility of providing medical emergency and primary healthcare services to Australia’s remote and very remote areas, the Royal Flying Doctor Service has established flight paths that reach across the continent. No matter where you are located, the Flying Doctor can get help to you within hours.


In a country of 7.69 million square km, distance has always been a problem in accessing health care. The RFDS model of fly-in fly-out services, critical road service vehicles, 24/7 telehealth and outreach health care is responding to need in country Australia.

What inspires Haydn Frisby, RFDS Senior Base Pilot, Bundaberg Base

Working with RFDS since 2004, Haydn loves his job and is dedicated to helping people in need.


“It’s great to work in a close team doing a job that is really worthwhile to the benefit of other people”.


What benefits will the new Bundaberg Base bring?

“The new facility will streamline the current operation that we are running. There will be an increase in space for crew, staff meetings, training and equipment storage. Being purpose-built, it will be tailored to the needs of pilots, nurses and office staff. It will be a lot easier to do our jobs – and will also cater for the needs of our patients with a comfortable waiting area and rest room”.


What role does RFDS have in the lives of local communities? 

“Last year we transported 1,893 patients from the Bundaberg Base – that’s more than 5 patients a day; each of which have their own story and family that loves them. Very often we are a life line to them. The people of Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Kingaroy and the smaller towns in between have all seen the Bundaberg Base King Air B350 in their sky’s and will continue to do so for many years to come”.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FLYING DOCTOR

Meet Christian….a young man aided by the Bundaberg RFDS crew

“Christian has had to learn how to swallow, talk, walk, run, balance all over again - all the little things that you take for granted”.

Kathryn Cordwell, Christian’s mum


Christian is 13 year old teenager, a mad keen footballer, loves animals and working on the family property.


Committed to his football, Christian was at a training session when he pulled his mum aside to say "mum, I can't warm up my legs...I just can't warm my legs up!!". By the next morning, he couldn’t rise up onto his toes, he felt uncoordinated and nauseous. His mum, Kathryn, rushed him to Rockhampton Hospital where he spent a day in the Paediatric Unit before being aeromedically transported by the RFDS Bundaberg team to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.


Kathryn recalls the moment Christian was hoisted into the RFDS aircraft and meeting the RFDS nurse “the way the nurse and pilot interacted with the ambulance staff, you could tell there was such a great rapport. Everyone was just so calm and relaxed with each other. There was definitely a mutual respect there. It was really calming for me at that moment when I was not at my calmest. I felt really safe and secure”.

The flight to Brisbane was the start of a 3-month hospital stay, as Christian battled a relapse of Guillain-Barre Syndrome; a devastating autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system begins to attack the peripheral nervous system.

Christian’s health deteriorated rapidly; his entire body went into shut down and was completely paralysed – his body started to experience respiratory failure resulting in him being put into an induced coma for 9 days.


"There was one day where he actually said his goodbyes because he thought he was going to die. I had to remind him that he made a promise to me that he wasn’t going to quit - he fought hard for me". Christian’s promise to his mother pulled him through the ordeal, he started to breathe independently, and began the long road to recovery.


"Christian knows without RFDS, his treatment would have been delayed, which meant that as bad as everything got – it could have got a lot worse. It really was a case of life and death".


“Every time I transfer a patient from a large or small community, or bring them home after receivingmedical treatment, I hear their stories and how appreciative they are of our service. The RFDS is a lifeline for so many who live, work and travel in regional and remote Australia and I am privileged to be part of this proud tradition that has been providing services for over 90 years”.

Ellie Fitzgerald, RFDS Clinical and Base Operations Manager at Bundaberg Base, Flight Nurse and Midwife.

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