The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Broken Hill Base is an integral cog in a well-oiled network that provides 24-hour aeromedical emergency services to those living, working or travelling in rural and remote communities of Australia.
One of nine bases and healthcare facilities in the South Eastern Section, and servicing a 640,000 sq km area of NSW/ACT, the base provides life-saving emergency evacuations and retrievals and comprehensive primary healthcare services – including clinics where patients can access community health nurses, dentists, mental health and allied health professionals.
Situated at Broken Hill Airport, the base utilises state-of-the-art aviation, medical and communications technology, to deal with medical issues requiring emergency evacuation such as motor vehicle and motorbike accidents, broken bones, heart attacks and strokes, sudden and severe chest pain, respiratory failure, snake and spider bites and work related injuries.
The Broken Hill Base employs modified King Air aircraft which have two stretcher beds and three seats that can be reconfigured. The passenger door has been replaced with a large cargo door to facilitate patient loading and unloading.
In addition to the normal aircraft systems, the aircraft is fitted with an additional battery to provide medical power, a medical oxygen and suction system, and an intercommunication system between the cockpit and the medical staff in the cabin.
And along with a single pilot, a flight nurse is usually on every flight; and in cases where the patient is seriously ill, a doctor is also present. Other passengers can include sitting patients, accompanying relatives or specialist medical staff.
A lifeline for the health and wellbeing of Australians living in the outback, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) covers 80 per cent of the country – an area the size of Western Europe. Visitors can experience the RFDS for themselves on one of the continually running guided tours of its base. You can also see RFDS activities presented in the Mantle of Safety Museum.
The Broken Hill Base epitomises the RFDS motto: “The furthest corner. The finest care.” And it certainly continues to do the Reverend John Flynn (who founded the RFDS in 1928) proud!
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is located on Airport Rd, Broken Hill, in the far north-west of NSW.
Driving to Broken Hill from Sydney is quite an arduous journey, taking almost 13 hours via the Barrier Highway.
Regional Express Airlines offer daily flights from Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne (via Mildura), which means you’ll be arriving at Broken Hill Airport – the very base of the Royal Flying Doctors Service.