Parts of Australia are so isolated that getting sick or hurt was often a death sentence. A uniquely Australian creation changed all that.
CGTN’s Greg Navarro takes a look at the Royal Flying Doctors Service, which turns 90 years old this year.
This might seem like any weekday healthcare clinic offering the kind of services you’d find just about anywhere. It’s located in rural Queensland town of Pentland, home to one pub, one store and just 200 people.
“We are going to places where they don’t have access to medical care most of the time,” said Melanie Dunstand a senior primary healthcare nurse with the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
You realize what it took for this dedicated team to get here when a flight covering hundreds of kilometers to reach a community seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
“Australia is so vast, especially the north and western part of the country, healthcare is not hours away but sometimes days away especially if someone is injured,” said Benjamin Wilby a pilot with the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
That’s why the Royal Flying Doctors Service was created 90 years ago to provide medical care for people living in some of Australia’s most remote communities.
“If we didn’t come to these places most people would have to drive long distances or fly to get the care that everyone can get, like everyone in the city can get on every corner,” said Melanie Dunstand a senior primary healthcare nurse with the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
The services they provide are varied -including prenatal and pediatric care, dental and mental health checks. Sometimes the most valued part of these visits is the most basic.
The job is demanding. The organization flies the equivalent of more than 30 trips to the moon and back in a single year.
“I’ve had times where I’ve felt tired from getting up early and tired of getting on another plane but when you walk into a clinic and you see people who are happy to see you and you are happy to provide the service that meets their needs so adequately, it is hard to think of giving that away,” said Catherine Carroll a primary healthcare nurse with Royal Flying Doctors Service.