Premier Alan Carpenter today announced an additional $38.614million package for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to enhance and expand its fleet of aircraft and increase staff.
The Premier said the additional funding, to be provided over five years from 2008-09, brought the total State Government funding to the RFDS, to more than $144million over five years.
He said the money would ensure the RFDS could meet demand for its services now and into the future.
“Included in the package is additional capital funding of $14.498million to allow the RFDS to replace three of its ageing aircraft and purchase two additional planes to be based at Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie,” the Premier said.
“In addition recurrent funding will be boosted by $23.916million over the next five years to 2012-13, to ensure a safe and appropriate level of service for patients needing to be transferred to Perth from hospitals in regional areas of the State.
“People living in regional areas of Western Australia can be confident that this Government acknowledges and values the role of the RFDS as critical and integral to the health and well-being of rural patients, especially those needing emergency treatment.”
RFDS CEO Tim Shackleton welcomed the Premier’s announcement and commended the State Government for recognising the very real need in WA for additional RFDS aircraft and crews to service people in the bush.
“In many ways, the package announced today represents a breakthrough in the way the work of the RFDS is supported by the State,” Mr Shackleton said.
“This funding will enable us to add more capacity where it is needed in Kalgoorlie and Port Hedland.
“This new funding package doesn’t alleviate the need for continuing support from corporate donors and the community. We are very grateful to all our supporters and ask them to work with us to face the challenges that lie ahead.
“We look forward to an ongoing, positive working relationship with the State Government so that together we continue to provide much needed, essential health services to people living, working and travelling throughout WA.”
The RFDS relies on financial support from the Commonwealth, State Government and fundraising contributions from industry and the wider community.
“We recognise the vital service that the RFDS provides to people who live in rural and remote areas of WA and in making this commitment acknowledge that the RFDS has been stretched by the level of demand for its services across Western Australia,” Mr Carpenter said.
“We have worked with the RFDS and together are confident that this additional funding will mean the RFDS will be able to meet response times to required safety standards.
“This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring improved access to health services through better patient transport for country communities.”
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