Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health

    Fair funding needed to keep the 'doctor' flying

    16/02/2018 2:30 PM
    • McGowan Government continues to support Royal Flying Doctor Service operations
    • Health Minister Roger Cook calls on Federal Government to provide its fair share
    • McGowan Government puts patients first and delivers quality healthcare across WA 

    Health Minister Roger Cook today unveiled the latest state-of-the-art aircraft to join the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Western Operations' fleet.


    The $7.9 million State Government-funded Pilatus PC-12 turboprop aircraft is specially fitted with aeromedical technology, enabling it to provide inter-hospital transport throughout Western Australia. 


    The State Government has committed to continue funding the RFDS and has urged the Federal Government to reinstate its fair share of funding to the service. 


    Since December 2015, there has been a significant reduction of baseline Commonwealth funding for the RFDS in WA for primary evacuation and remote area clinic services, standby arrangements and their contribution towards capital.


    The provision of health care services to Western Australians living in remote areas is complex and challenging - the service provided by RFDS is integral to the clinical safety of rural patients.


    The WA Country Health Service and RFDS both play an important part in ensuring people living, working or travelling in country WA always have access to quality care.   


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "I'm pleased the McGowan Government is continuing its ongoing support, through the WA Country Health Service, to RFDS so it can continue its important work across the State.    


    "Vast distances between regional towns and Perth means sometimes the only way to get seriously ill and critically injured patients to the doctors and treatment they need is by air.


    "Providing quality healthcare is a team effort and the successful partnership between WA Country Health Service and the RFDS is testament to this - but they can't do it alone. 


    "The State Government and Federal Government historically split the cost of funding the Royal Flying Doctor Service more or less equally.


    "Upon coming to office, we discovered the Federal Government dramatically reduced its funding contribution for standby arrangements, baseline funding for primary evacuations and remote area clinics, and capital which doesn't reflect the costs with maintaining an essential service.


    "The Federal Government must review its Commonwealth services funding allocation to reflect the 2.55 million square kilometres RFDS travels to service WA, rather than focusing on the number of journeys made in each State. 


    "This is another case of Western Australia being short-changed on Commonwealth funding.


    "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."



    • RFDS bases: Jandakot, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Meekatharra and Port Hedland
    • RFDS fleet: 16 Pilatus PC-12 turboprop aircraft. 1 x Hawker Jet (Rio Tinto Life Flight)
    • All RFDS aircraft are decommissioned after 10 years of service. 
    • On average each aircraft will fly the equivalent of 200 times around the world
    • In 2017, RFDS helped 8,330 patients in flight, 15,648 patients at RFDS clinics and 38,483 through telehealth consultations.
    • All RFDS doctors and nurses must have critical care experience, midwifery qualifications and trained in aero medical practise.
    • More than 531,900 people live in regional WA.  

    Minister's office - 6552 6500