The WA Health Minister has attacked the Federal Government for what he called inadequate funding for Western Australian Royal Flying Doctor Services at a plane unveiling in Jandakot last week.
Health Minister Roger Cook revealed the new RFDS plane on February 16, which will fly across the state to emergencies in rural Western Australia.
The plane, a single-engine, 1200 horsepower, 9-person craft, is the 16th of its kind currently in RFDS service and was funded entirely by the State Government.
RFDS planes fly across the state from airports including Jandakot, and provided emergency services to more than 8000 patients in 2017.
At the unveiling Mr Cook highlighted the importance of RFDS services in regional emergencies, and called on the Federal Government to provide more support for WA’s branch.
“Providing quality healthcare is a team effort and the successful partnership between WA Country Health Service and the RFDS is a testament to this – but they can’t do it alone,” he said.
Mr Cook said after his party took office in 2017 they found the Canberra had cut funding for the program, which seriously hit WA’s service owing to the state’s vastness.
“The Commonwealth must reinstate its contribution and deliver a fair share that reflects the important and essential services provided to regional families by the RFDS,” he said.
RFDS WA chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said was at the unveiling.
“The new PC-12 aircraft will progress our operational capacity to respond to emergencies and retrievals and deliver primary health care at remote and regional clinics across WA,” she said.
“The Flying Doctor is a critical asset to WA’s health infrastructure.
“We rely on the continued support of government and value working in partnership to benefit the safety and well-being of all West Australians.”
Federal Rural Health Minister Bridget McKenzie said the Federal Government would review its funding with RFDS.
“The Royal Flying Doctor Service has received funding from the Commonwealth Government since the 1930s,” she said.
“These services are important and remain critical to those living, working and travelling in rural and remote Australia.
“The Australian Government is working closely with the RFDS regarding future funding arrangements, including from July 1, 2018.”