Covid pandemic fails to clip RFDS wings

THE Royal Flying Doctor Service has navigated the year with minimal disruption to its healthcare services despite border closures, social distancing and increase in healthcare protocols.

Yearly patient and aviation statistics show patient transfers across the state were on par with 2019 with 10,678 patients being flown to emergency or specialist care between January 1 and December 1.

Townsville crews flew 1982 patients with the main reason for transfer related to heart conditions, preterm births and sepsis.

More than 15,000 patients accessed healthcare via the RFDS telehealth service.

RFDS chief executive Meredith Staib said it was a challenging year for all healthcare providers.

"This year was unlike anything anyone could have predicted, and I am immensely proud of the way our frontline staff and the whole organisation responded to the pandemic," she said. "We rapidly adapted our primary healthcare service delivery models to meet health safety standards while ensuring patients were still able to access the care they needed.

"This included shifting to telehealth where required, extending stays in community for some RFDS healthcare staff, heightening of staff PPE protocols, and innovative decontamination processes for our aircraft."

Originally published as Covid pandemic fails to clip RFDS wings