The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) and Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) have taken another step in their longstanding partnership to provide quality health care for people in rural and regional NSW.

NSW Nationals Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the RFDS will facilitate flights three days a week to transport doctors from Sydney to Dubbo and Orange.

“As part of the COVID-19 outbreak, airlines have had to look at their scheduling and that has hindered the ability for doctors and medical specialists to service our part of NSW,” Mr Saunders said.

“This partnership between the RFDS and the WNSWLHD will ensure that people in our region who need to see city-based medical specialists will still have that access.”

WNSWLHD Executive Director Dr Clayton Spencer said the strengthened partnership with the RFDS builds on the great work that has been done over the past few years.

“This new service from Sydney to Orange and Dubbo will ensure that we can continue to bring doctors to our district to help our communities at a time they need it the most,” Dr Spencer said.

“The flights are compliant with aviation guidelines, and are in line with all infection control measures to ensure the safety of our staff and communities.

“We are also expanding our capacity to provide telemedicine through our existing services telehealth and the Virtual Rural Generalist Service (VRGS).”

The VRGS provides a 24-hour virtual and face-to-face medical service across the region.

RFDS strategic adviser of service development David Charlton said his organisation is happy to be linking with the health district for the project.

“We are so pleased the Flying Doctor can assist with moving crucial medical staff to areas of need,” he said.

“Our aeromedical support team are delighted to be able to further support the Western region at this challenging time.”

This initiative has been funded through the NSW Nationals in Government’s Rural Aerial Health Service (RAHS) program.

The first flight will leave from Sydney on April 19.