At 95 years old the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is providing a larger and more diverse range of services to rural communities across Australia than ever before.
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On Wednesday, May 17, the RFDS celebrated its 95th anniversary of operation - making it the world's oldest and "most comprehensive" aeromedical organisation.
"Most of us here are really proud to work for such an iconic organisation and -in some ways - we feel nervous about making sure that we keep the legacy going," Dr Randall Greenberg, Chief Medical Officer for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section), said.
"Our founder John Flynn talked about the 'mantle of safety' so that even if you're in a really remote area, like a remote property in far west NSW, you can still get medical care - not only the urgent things but general practice as well."
The RFDS was founded by presbyterian reverend John Flynn on May 15, 1928 as the AIM Aerial Medical Service.
Reverend Flynn saw the need for medical transport service in the outback when he was a missionary who helped establish a number of bush hospitals.
The service answered its first call just two days after it was founded, on May 17. From its base in Cloncurry a leased de Havilland DH.50 plane flew 137 kilometres to Julia Creek in central Queensland.
Within its first year of operations, the service flew more than 30,000 kilometres in 50 flights. It became the world's first flying ambulance service.
Now, from its bases at Dubbo and Broken Hill alone, the RFDS provides more than 85,000 cases of care in and around NSW every year, as well as performing non-emergency patient transfers, inter-hospital transfers and contracted aeromedical service delivery.
Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section CEO Greg Sam said much has changed in the last 95 years, including the cost of delivery and growing complexity of healthcare needs in rural and regional areas.
"While we began as an emergency retrieval service, today it is about much more. Within the South Eastern Section we offer GP clinics, extensive mental health and alcohol and other drug services, dental services and reproductive health services," he said.
"What has not changed is our dedication to providing high quality healthcare to people who would otherwise have very limited access due to their isolation. We've been doing it for 95 years and we look forward to being of service for many more years to come.
"It doesn't matter if you are living, working or just travelling through outback Australia, if you find yourself in a health emergency, we will be there for you."
Dr Greenberg said he hopes the organisation will continue to expand their reach and range of services to meet the demands of our ever-evolving region.
"The important thing for us is that we don't just rest on our laurels. And what we are doing is making sure that we're offering high-quality, contemporary healthcare in all areas," he said.
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