The first of two new Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft is being prepared for take-off, thanks to a $23.16 million investment from the Liberal National Government’s Royalties for Regions.
Health Minister John Day said the new Pilatus PC12 would be the second aircraft based in Broome, significantly expanding RFDS capacity across the north of the State.
“These aircraft are far more than flying ambulances; they are essentially airborne intensive care units,” Mr Day said.
“This is particularly good news for patient care and clinical outcomes for people living, working and travelling in the Kimberley and the Pilbara.
“The service provides a critical lifeline for remote and regional communities, and visitors to popular tourist destinations.”
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said $23.16 million from Royalties for Regions was financing the purchase of two new and two replacement aircraft, and had funded the new Broome RFDS base. The first of the two replacement aircraft began operations in August last year.
“Broome is the busiest RFDS hub in the north of Western Australia, with more than 1,000 patients flown to and from the centre in the past 12 months alone,” Mr Redman said.
“Regional residents can be confident in WA’s world-class medical response services, as Royalties for Regions continues supporting the sustainability and resilience of local communities.”
Each year, more than 9,000 people benefit from Royal Flying Doctor Service emergency aero medical retrievals and inter-hospital transfers. The new plane is due to join the fleet in March.
“It is a credit to the RFDS that, despite patient numbers growing by about five per cent a year since 2010, air ambulance performance targets have continued to improve,” Mr Day said.
“This new aircraft and the two to come are fundamental to our commitment to bring quality health care as close to home as possible, regardless of where you live in WA.”
The State Government also separately funds the RFDS to provide aero inter-hospital patient transport services from Derby, Port Hedland, Meekatharra, Kalgoorlie, Jandakot and Broome.