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Critical care boost for Bundaberg LifeFlight Rescue

Critical Care Lifeflight
A critical care doctor will now be based at the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base seven days a week to boost the service’s capacity to transport critically ill patients thanks to a $1.1 million investment from the Morrison Joyce Federal Government. Photo: : Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

Funding has been secured for a critical care doctor to be based at Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue seven days a week.

The addition to the already highly skilled aeromedical crew has been made possible by generous donations from the community and funding from the Federal Government, which was announced at the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base recently. . 

The Federal Member for Hinkler The Hon Keith Pitt and Federal Regional Health Minister The Hon Dr David Gillespie secured $1.1 million dollars – to be spent over three years – in this year's budget. 

LifeFlight Chief Medical Officer Dr Allan MacKillop said it was a welcome commitment from the Federal Government.

“RACQ LifeFlight Rescue currently provides a world-class aeromedical service for people in need across the Wide Bay and Burnett, as supported by Queensland Health,” Dr MacKillop said. 

“But adding a doctor to the team will take the service to even greater heights.”

The doctor's advanced medical skills will complement the skillset of the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Critical Care Flight Paramedics, who already fly on the chopper. 

“This is a natural progression for the Bundaberg base and will further enhance our already exceptional aeromedical service, which comes to the aid of hundreds of sick or injured locals each year, as tasked by Retrieval Services Queensland (RSQ),” Dr MacKillop said. 

The boost to the service would not have been possible without the support and donations from the community, particularly from Ron and Fay Simpson and their family, through The Simpson Foundation.

They were instrumental in kicking off the project, with the first donation.

“We saw the need for a critical care doctor when the project was explained to us, and we were more than happy to provide the initial lead funding,” Mr Simpson said.

“Our family has experienced the critical work of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew firsthand, so we know it’s a vital service in the regions.”

The community followed suit and their combined support managed to raise enough money to fund a critical care doctor on the aircraft, over weekends. 

The additional funding from the Federal Government has now accelerated the project, meaning the service can go straight to a seven-day doctor. 

“The community's hard work and donations drove this vision from the beginning, and we're now very pleased to see the Federal Government's funding fast track the process,”  Deputy Chair of the Wide Bay Regional Advisory Committee Dale Rethamel said.

“The long-term plan is to increase the hours, so there is a Critical Care doctor available 24/7, but to do that we need continued support and donations from the community.

“LifeFlight and its Wide Bay Regional Advisory Committee are always looking to enhance the service we provide to the region.”

The Critical Care doctor is expected to begin working at the base from September. 

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said he was thrilled with the result which recognised the vital role LifeFlight Rescue played in the Bundaberg Region and the existing commitment from the local community.

“I’ve heard loud and clear from the community that a critical care doctor was needed in Bundaberg, so LifeFlight could provide additional care to critically ill patients in our region,” Mr Pitt said.

“The presence of a critical care doctor, seven days a week during daylight hours, equips the LifeFlight Rescue Bundaberg service to respond to conditions ranging from cardiac issues and serious injuries, to the transfer of expectant mothers and infants for specialised care in Brisbane.

“I know the local community has been working hard to get a doctor on board the chopper and it just reinforces that we live in a region filled with people wanting to give back to the community.”

Mr Pitt said the aeromedical footprint of the Bundaberg Base covered 34 different locations in Queensland, from Hervey Bay, Kingaroy, Gladstone, Barcaldine and beyond.

The Australian Government is providing $1.1 million to RACQ LifeFlight Rescue to employ a critical care doctor seven days a week, during the day, over three years for its aeromedical rescue service in Bundaberg.

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