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Partnership supports aeromedical training hub

Aeromedical simulation hub
Royal Flying Doctor Service chief executive Meredith Staib and Rio Tinto Aluminium Pacific Operations managing director Kellie Parker.

A new partnership between The Royal Flying Doctor Service and Rio Tinto will assist the Bundaberg Region in becoming a training ground for aeromedical professionals from across Australia.

Rio Tinto has pledged $1.25 million to RFDS Queensland over five years, underlining the company’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders and to providing resources to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will not only improve remote delivery of primary health care and mental health services across the state, it will also contribute to the construction of a world-class Aeromedical Retrieval Simulation Hub in Bundaberg.

The hub will use virtual reality, augmented reality and high-fidelity immersive training scenarios to attract and train aeromedical professionals for the benefit of the whole state.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Pacific Operations managing director Kellie Parker said the company was proud to extend a long-standing partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Queensland.

“Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our people and communities, and the Flying Doctor provides a vital service to remote and rural areas,” she said.

Royal Flying Doctor Service chief executive Meredith Staib said the service was pleased to welcome Rio Tinto as a principal partner.

She said the $1.25 million RFDS Queensland partnership would also go towards the RFDS Queensland’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund as well as the construction and maintenance of a new patient transfer facility in Weipa and maintenance of the existing patient transfer facility in Gladstone.

“This new million-dollar partnership will allow our service to deliver even greater levels of care across the state,” Ms Staib said.

“Improving our infrastructure does require a significant investment and strategic partnerships such as this will allow us to do just that.

We are incredibly grateful to Rio Tinto for their commitment to help us deliver even better health outcomes for Queenslanders.”

Aeromedical simulation hub
Initial design plans for the Bundaberg simulation training facility.

Aeromedical Retrieval Simulation Hub

Initial planning stages of the Aeromedical Retrieval Simulation Hub were announced in January, when RFDS began consulting with local businesses and organisations to identify potential locations and construction options.

“While still in initial planning stages, the project has already had incredibly strong support from all levels of government, as well as local businesses and organisations which have been consulted on how best to incorporate the wider Bundaberg Region into this exciting project,” Ms Staib said.

“A simulation hub of this scale would be a first for the RFDS in Queensland, and we’re so excited to see it potentially coming to life in Bundaberg, where we have flown tens of thousands of people since we began operating there in 2002.

“The RFDS is always looking at ways to provide even greater levels of health care, whether that be in aeromedical retrieval or primary health care, and this incredible opportunity is just another way we are working towards this goal.”

The construction of the simulation hub will be funded through a $15 million allocation of the Federal Government’s Hinkler Regional Deal.

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