House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Constituency Statements

Western Australia: Royal Flying Doctor Service

11:22 am

Photo of Tim HammondTim Hammond (Perth, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week, I had the great pleasure and privilege of visiting the Perth base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Western Australia, located at Jandakot Airport, in the Perth southern suburbs. As members may or may not know, Jandakot is actually the second biggest airport in the Southern Hemisphere and is the primary transfer airport for Flying Doctor Service patients from all over the state to and from hospitals in Perth. There are also Flying Doctor Service bases in Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra, Port Hedland and Broome.

It's also noteworthy that not only do they provide an amazing service all across the state and indeed the country but also they are a powerhouse when it comes to employment. The Royal Flying Doctor Service employs up to 400 people, with over 45 doctors, over 40 nurses and 41 pilots. Geographically, as we know, Western Australia is a huge state and has some of the world's most remote and isolated communities. The RFDS spans over 2.5 million square kilometres, making it one of the largest aeromedical service areas in the entire world.

In Western Australia, the Flying Doctor Service responds to around 25 patients per day, every day, at all hours. The truth is that a modern, First World health system simply could not be delivered equitably throughout our state without the amazing work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and all of those who are incredibly committed to its cause.

In the course of my tour at the RFDS, I was struck by speaking to so many employees who had been working there for so long. The stability of their workforce is really a testament to the common commitment at the RFDS to providing world-class medical service all over the state. It's not just about treating acute illnesses at times of crisis. Heart attacks and other life-threatening diseases are, as we know, prevented through regular access to good primary health care such as GP services. The RFDS have released a report today in relation to cardiovascular disease. It's great to see them also committed to the cause.

In terms of the nuts and bolts, I can tell you that the centre down at Jandakot has everything in it, even a flight simulator aircraft. I was amazed at the amazing work done in such small confines on these planes for patients often in life-threatening situations. If I didn't already hold them in high enough esteem, I certainly did after that tour, I can tell you. I also got a chance to learn more about their new and improved airline, the Pilatus PC-24—the first of its kind in aeromedical treatment anywhere around the globe. The innovations that are being led from the front by the RFDS WA's Rebecca Tomkinson are to be applauded. To Rebecca, well done. To the entire team, well done. You are doing a marvellous job.

Honourable Members:

Honourable members interjecting

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I just remind members that, if they wish to hold conversations in the Chamber and continue those while other members are speaking, they should take those conversations outside the Chamber for the benefit of all members present.