The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) can now expand its work in protecting our regional communities thanks to an additional $810,000 from the NSW Nationals in Government.

NSW Nationals Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the RFDS South Eastern Section was receiving $750,000 for two additional fully equipped Mobile Service Vehicles with full time staff for six months, alongside $60,000 for 60 iPads attached to Medical Chest locations to enhance telehealth services.

“This $810,000 boost is on top of more than $38.8 million the NSW Nationals in Government have already provided to the RFDS this financial year to support the incredible work it does in our communities,” Mr Saunders said.

“The RFDS is an invaluable health service that has protected our regional communities for generations and I am always in awe of the incredible work it continues to do year after year.

“This additional funding thanks to the NSW Nationals in Government will allow the RFDS to continue to provide critical support to Dubbo and surrounding towns and meet the increased demand in services in response to COVID-19.”

The RFDS has also stepped up to help transport additional medical staff from Sydney to Dubbo and Orange while appropriate commercial domestic flights are unavailable.

NSW Nationals Leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the RFDS was a beacon of hope to communities west of the divide and plays a vital role in servicing the health and wellbeing of our regional communities.

“Rural and regional NSW face unique challenges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are fortunate to have organisations like the RFDS protecting our communities,” Mr Barilaro said.

“These guardians of the sky provide essential healthcare and certainty to regional communities in their time of need, while transporting patients and saving lives.”

CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) Greg Sam said the new equipment and vehicles will be welcomed in regional areas.

“Our rural and remote communities still need the general health services they have always needed, but COVID-19 has created a number of barriers which make this very difficult,” Mr Sam said.

“This new funding will help us reach these people and continue to give them the care they need, when and where they need it, whether that’s through a video consult on an iPad or via a mobile clinic.”