Tuesday, 9 March 2021

RFDS and LifeFlight celebrate one-year anniversary in new base

In the 365 days since the joint Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base in Bundaberg became operational, more than 1,384 patients have been transferred through the facility.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt visited the base today on the anniversary of its opening to meet with crew, staff and volunteers.

“The official opening had to be cancelled last year due to covid, however the work of RFDS and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue has not stopped,” Mr Pitt said.

“RFDS and LifeFlight are well known and respected in our region and they both do a fantastic job caring for local patients in their time of need.

“As well as improved airside access, the base provides dedicated accommodation for more patients and operational crews, public meeting spaces, clinical training and simulation rooms, as well as onsite engineering and maintenance facilities.

“The base has increased efficiency with RFDS incorporating a Bundaberg stop-over in a daily scheduled service between Rockhampton and Brisbane and the additional hangar space means LifeFlight will be able to respond to any increase in demand, moving forward.”

RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said today’s visit by the Federal Member for Hinkler provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase base operations, as well as highlight the efforts of hard-working RFDS and LifeFlight staff.

“Over the past year, 1,107 patients have been transferred to or from emergency and specialist treatment via the RFDS Bundaberg Base. This modern and well-equipped base enables our crew to deliver world-class aeromedical care,” she said.

“Among the facility’s features are increased maintenance space, a state-of-the-art clinical simulation room for the ongoing training of our staff, and a new Patient Transfer Facility, which ensures patients are kept out of the elements while they wait to move onto or off an aircraft.

“I would like to thank the Australian Government for their investment in the Bundaberg Base, which has bolstered health service delivery for the region.”

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s Chief Executive Officer, Ashley van de Velde, said it was fitting that on the first anniversary, the Member for Hinkler visit the base, as its construction was made possible, thanks to the contribution from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

“RACQ LifeFlight Rescue always appreciates the strong support we receive, but this base is a testament to just how far communities are willing to go, to ensure the best medical care is available, 24/7.”

In the first 12 months of operation at the new base, Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue responded to more than 280 critical missions, across the Wide Bay Burnett and up into Central Queensland.

That includes the rescue of four men, from the hull of a capsized catamaran in November last year and airlifting more than forty patients, from motor vehicle incidents throughout the year.

“This new aeromedical base has enabled our crews to be ready to respond in a more timely fashion, especially the night crews, who can now sleep at the base, in dedicated accommodation,” Mr van de Velde said.

“Keeping the chopper maintained has been made more efficient, thanks to a specialised engineering room, off the hangar too.”

The Australian Government invested $3 million through the Building Better Regions Fund for the joint aeromedical base, with RFDS and LifeFlight each contributing $1.5 million to the project.

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