MELBOURNE, Australia — Rio Tinto has pledged A$500,000 to CareFlight Northern Operations to support emergency aeromedical care in the Northern Territory as part of a A$1.1 million commitment to support East Arnhem communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The contribution underlines Rio Tinto’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of the region and to provide resources to combat the effects of the pandemic.
Rio Tinto Gove Operations general manager Alysia Tringrove said “I’m pleased to announce Rio Tinto has committed A$1.1 million to the Gove Peninsula from its Partnership for Progress program, which has been set up to provide more support to communities where we operate.
“CareFlight provides a vital service to remote and rural areas and is the primary aeromedical, search and rescue service in the Northern Territory. This funding will help CareFlight continue to supply emergency care and other medical services to people in the East Arnhem region and the rest of the Territory.
CareFlight Northern Operations general manager Philip Roberts said the team was pleased to welcome Rio Tinto as a funding partner:
“These funds will play a vital role in improving patient outcomes across East Arnhem Land and ensuring the most remote pockets of the Territory have equity in access to a hospital level of care. Rio Tinto’s contribution will allow us to bolster services during the current COVID-19 response and develop additional options to service the East Arnhem region.
“As the only aeromedical provider in the Top End, covering more than 600,000 square kilometres, it is critical we deliver equity in healthcare to all rural and remote residents, as well as our most vulnerable populations.”
CareFlight senior flight nurse and midwife Trudy Guiney said she felt privileged to have lived in the East Arnhem region for 20 years and to be part of the CareFlight team servicing the region:
“The greatest joy for me has been building relationships in the community and caring for the families in the region.
“For example, during our most recent wet season, I was on night shift and received a patient that was critically ill and required an expedited transfer to Royal Darwin Hospital for internal bleeding.
“One of the most satisfying things was that his wife really trusted us because of our existing strong relationship. When she saw me, she knew he would be looked after, because we’ve looked after her, her children and her grandchildren over the years.
“During times of uncertainty and taking loved ones across vast distances, trust and confidence in our people and organisation really matters. This patient survived and is back in our community today.”
The CareFlight investment is the first major investment announced in the Northern Territory as part of a US$25 million commitment Rio Tinto has made to support communities around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.