Australia’s iconic aeromedical organisation, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) continues to play a vital role in protecting regional communities in the fight against COVID-19.
The RFDS has provided retrievals, evacuations, swab transfers and fly-in GP respiratory clinic testing, protecting the lives of people living and working in the most remote corners of the country from the outset of this pandemic.
Speaking during a visit to the RFDS respiratory clinic at Broken Hill airport where the vaccine rollout is underway, Federal Regional Health Minister and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton said the involvement of the RFDS had helped to ensure that people in rural areas had the same level of protection as Australians in more populated areas.
“Regional and remote Australia has been one of the safest places to be through the pandemic. This is particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have a higher risk of contracting and developing serious illness from COVID-19,” Minister Coulton said.
“The challenge of an effective COVID-19 response in a country as demographically dispersed and sparsely populated as ours is a formidable one.”
“I am proud to say that we have implemented one of the most successful responses to COVID-19 worldwide.”
Minister Coulton said the RFDS has played a key part in keeping remote communities safe through the pandemic.
“It is an essential component of the Australian Government’s commitment to provide the best possible protection for all Australians, regardless of where they live,” he said.
“The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine into rural and remote communities is a vital part of the Government’s vaccine strategy to ensure everyone is protected. Our engagement with the RFDS and other rural health stakeholders will be critical to achieving this in 2021.”
Federation Executive Director of the RFDS, Frank Quinlan, said the organisation was pleased to work with the Australian Government and national health partners on the national COVID-19 response.
“Rural and remote Australia has been protected to date from COVID-19 outbreaks, and we are determined for this success story to be continued,” Mr Quinlan said.