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Business Air News Bulletin
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Royal Flying Doctor Service helicopter takes flight
Marking an historic moment for the RFDS in Western Australia, a patient was flown from Harvey to a hospital in Perth for urgent care, the first time helicopters have been used by an RFDS service in 94 years.
Western Australian deputy premier and minister for health Roger Cook, RFDS CEO Rebecca Tomkinson, Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines and Perth lord mayor Basil Zempilas.

Australian air ambulance operator Royal Flying Doctor Service's (RFDS) new Fortescue Heli-Med Service has taken flight for the first time. A patient was safely retrieved from Harvey and flown to a hospital in Perth for urgent care, marking the first time helicopters have been used by an RFDS service anywhere in Australia in its 94 year history.

RFDS WA chief executive officer Rebecca Tomkinson says: “From today, the new RFDS Fortescue Heli-Med Service will make a life-saving difference to Western Australians who need urgent assistance in regional locations. The RFDS is proud to be partnering with Fortescue on this innovation, and we both look forward to its success. This is a fantastic example of community working together to provide the best possible care for the regional communities who have trusted the RFDS for almost a century.”

The five year partnership between the RFDS and Fortescue will integrate two EC-145 helicopters into the RFDS WA fleet, that will work alongside its 20 fixed wing aircraft to ensure provision of the best possible care for patients living, working and travelling in rural and remote communities.

Fortescue Metals Group CEO Elizabeth Gaines adds: “Fortescue was founded on the belief that communities should benefit from our success, and this vision continues to guide our approach to empowering thriving communities and delivering positive social and economic benefits to regional towns and communities. Just like Fortescue, the RFDS has an unwavering focus on safety and a strong commitment to maintaining the health and wellbeing of Western Australians living in regional and remote communities. We are delighted that this new service will enable the RFDS to continue working with the state's hospitals and health services to deliver care to people living in regional WA, complementing the existing services already being provided.”

The RFDS Fortescue Heli-Med Service will be used for hospital-to-hospital transfers within a 250km radius of Perth. The helicopters are equipped with the most advanced aeromedical equipment in the world, and RFDS doctors and flight nurses have undergone additional training for the new aircraft.

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