Last week I had the privilege of a private tour of the hangar at Melbourne airport to learn more about the amazing service the Royal Flying Doctors do. I also had a peek inside one of the non-emergency aircrafts (pictured above) that is fully equipped to transport patients across our big wide land.
It was a very humbling experience to hear from various members of the RFDS about the services they provide to those in need in rural and regional areas across Australia. They not only have a fleet of 71 aircraft, they also have 124 healthcare vehicles that allow them to travel to some of the most remote parts of our country to provide much needed services such as dental care and mental health checks.
I was blown away to find that the RFDS relies solely on donations from people like us to keep them in the air. The government does not provide on-going, consistent financial support. Some of the planes in their fleet cost as much as $13 million and cost $300,000 to keep them flying each year.
Listening to the flight nurse’s stories about some of the people they’ve helped was absolutely incredible, from helping transport stroke patients back to their home towns through to helping mum’s of premie babies get medical attention in capital cities and more. It goes to show how much we take medical care in the city for granted and just how difficult it can be for someone in a remote part of our big brown land to get proper medical assistance. Not to mention the much needed mental health support the RFDS provides to our farmers in times of hardship like the recent drought.
This week is the campaign, an annual fundraiser aimed at getting people to donate $20 to the RFDS. (Fun fact: John Flynn, founder of RFDS is commemorated on our $20 note.).
If you can spare a $20 this week, why not head to to donate and help buy medical equipment, replace nose wheels on a plane or provide dental screening for someone in need.