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The Royal Doctor Service Today

While the RFDS could not function without aircraft or communications, our medical staff (doctors and flight nurses) are the very cornerstone of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The organisation’s success depends on their competence and dedication. Their work is demanding. There is always a doctor on call to respond to an emergency at any time, day or night. There is nowhere in the 80% of Australia covered by RFDS where a patient cannot be reached within two hours.

Today the RFDS operates from 21 bases strategically located around Australia with a presence in most capital cities. The RFDS has expanded its traditional role to deliver a broad range of primary and preventative health care services to rural and remote communities. The RFDS also delivers critical support to those who live in urban centres: this includes the regular transfer of patients to interstate hospitals for life-saving surgery such as organ transplant and heart surgery on newborn babies.

Alice Springs Base
The Alice Springs Base provides 24-hour primary emergency retrievals and inter-hospital transfers by our team of pilots, flight nurses and engineers. It serves an area of approximately 1.25 million square kilometres from Marla in Northern South Australia to Newcastle Waters in the Northern Territory, and beyond the border regions of Western Australia and Queensland.

In Alice Springs, the RFDS also operates an award-winning Tourist Facility and Café which in 2008/09 attracted more than 63,000 visitors from all over the world. The Tourist Facility – the most significant RFDS tourist attraction in Australia – makes an important financial contribution to the Capital Raising Program, whilst also helping increase awareness and understanding of the RFDS around the globe.

The RFDS provides aero-medical services to the communities of Central Australia for more than 70 years. In 2010/11 a total of 2,600 patients were transported by RFDS aircraft from the Alice Springs Base – that’s seven people every day in Central Australia.

Central Operations
RFDS Central Operations provide aero-medical emergency, primary and preventive healthcare services across more than 2.3 million square kilometres covering South Australia, the southern half of the Northern Territory and, on occasions, areas within Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.

3 aero-medical bases (Adelaide, Port Augusta & Alice Springs)
2 primary healthcare facilities (Marree & Tennant Creek)
11 aircraft
165 staff

Health statistics Average 2010/2011
50,541 patient contacts, including;
  • 8,649 primary (remote) evacuations and inter-hospital transfers
  • 6,877 tele-health consultations
3,141 healthcare clinics conducted

Aviation statistics Average
Flew 5.3 million kilometres
Landed 14,792 times
Flew 14,147 hours



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Australian Tourism Award
Northern Territory Tourism Brolga Award
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