Royal Flying Doctor Service

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS, Tasmanian Section) was formed in 1960 to provide a co-ordinated aero-medical service for isolated communities. From using small single-engined aircraft, the service now flies a pressurised twin turbo-prop, able to carry two stretchers, crew and equipment at 280 knots and 30,000 feet. Activities have included supply of RFDS medical chests, radios, clinic flights, dental clinics to King and Flinders Islands, scholarships for fifth year medical students, supervision of the Rural Female GP programme, advanced training for Flight Paramedics, and fundraising.

Since 1997 the Service has run the state Air Ambulance service from its new $1,000,000 base at Launceston. Each year over 800 patients, from routine inter-hospital transfers to severe trauma, neo-natal and organ transplant cases, are transported within Tasmania and to mainland hospitals.

Further reading: L Millar, Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Tasmanian Section), [Launceston, 2000]; M Page, The Flying Doctor story, 192878, Adelaide, 1977; K Batstone, Outback heroes, Melbourne, 2003.

Lindsay Millar