LifeFlight Australia has completed a record financial year of saving lives, with RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Air Ambulance's jets, community helicopters and critical care doctors coming to the aid of 6,733 people. The jet and helicopter crews were busier than ever, flying more than 4,600 hours in total.
“We're able to provide that high level of care to anyone who needs it. It comes at no cost to the individual, and we can be called on anywhere, anytime,” says director of helicopter operations Brian Guthrie.
In the past 12 months, the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Air Ambulance Challenger 604 jets, based in Brisbane and Townsville, performed 494 lifesaving missions, a record for the fixed wing fleet. In yet another financial year record, 200 of these were completed by the Brisbane-based jet crews.
“The jets are mostly called on to bring people from remote and rural areas into major centres, such as Brisbane, where they can access a higher level of medical care,” commercial director Tim McGuire explains.
The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters, operating out of five bases across Queensland, came to the aid of 2,113 people.
“We are operating in a different health environment with the challenges of COVID-19, but we've adapted to those, and ultimately we're out there, continuing to do missions and expanding our capability,” Guthrie continues.
The Brisbane-based crew spent more time in the air than any other RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew, flying for 1,150 hours, the equivalent of flying non-stop, around the clock for 48 days. They performed 490 missions, valued at around $12.2 million, which come at no cost to patients.
“The work that RACQ LifeFlight Rescue does is literally lifesaving, if it weren't able to get to these crashes in time, then sadly our road toll would be even more horrific than it already is,” RACQ spokesperson Clare Hunter says. “It is there to help, and we're very grateful for its service, but we wish that it didn't need to attend these crashes.”
Ms Hunter said the automobile club, which acts as a road safety advocate for Queenslanders, is proud to continue supporting the life-saving helicopter service.
“RACQ LifeFlight Rescue is a huge part of Queensland's DNA when it comes to getting help to those who need it in regional and rural areas, and that's why we're incredibly proud to have had such a good relationship with it for so many years,” she concludes.