The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Central Operations is celebrating one year of service for its PIlatus PC-24 RFDS Medi-Jet 24. As the world's first purpose-built aeromedical jet, the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 has delivered 12 months of care in the air. It has flown to and from 31 locations, visiting every state and territory in Australia. In that time it has airlifted more than 320 patients, clocked up over 230,000 kilometres and saved more than 360 flying hours in getting patients to life-saving care.
“We knew the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 would always be a game-changer in our delivery of care, and it has well and truly delivered on this promise in its first year of service,” says Tony Vaughan ASM, chief executive of RFDS Central Operations. “Crucially, the jet-speed performance of the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 has enabled the Flying Doctor to reach patients faster than ever before. In an emergency environment when every minute counts, saving more than 360 flying hours, equivalent to one hour every day, in the retrieval and treatment of our patients is just an extraordinary achievement.
“Total mission time matters. The bespoke rear patient loading door and built-in stretcher loader system has reduced task turnaround times to further slash time total mission times for our patients.”
The RFDS Medi-Jet 24's inaugural mission on 6 June 2019 was the ICU transfer of a critically-ill patient from the Alice Springs Hospital to Royal Melbourne Hospital for life-saving neurosurgery. The direct flight took just three hours, two hours quicker than a turbo-propelled Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which comprises the majority of the RFDS Central Operations fleet.
The RFDS PC-24 played a key role in transporting some the nation's first confirmed COVID-19 patients from Darwin to Adelaide, as well as airlifted critically-ill patients from outback locations, such as Birdsville and remote mining sites in remote South Australia.