The Royal Flying Doctor Service will soar with confidence over the next four years as Rio Tinto commits ongoing funding to the aero medical jet service in WA.
The jet has been particularly beneficial for residents of the north, with 54 per cent of patients coming from the Kimberley region since it was introduced.
The new agreement will have a further $6 million donated by Rio Tinto over four years bringing the funding total to more than $11 million.
Royal Flying Doctor Service chief executive Grahame Marshall said the Rio Tinto Life Flight jet can reach patients in need anywhere in the State within hours.
“Since the jet’s first mission in October 2009, the aircraft has flown 2115 hours, evacuating 867 patients,” he said.
“Many lives have been saved as a direct result of the Rio Tinto Life Flight.
“We have experienced unprecedented demand for our services over the last three years and the jet has enabled us to respond to urgent cases in the furthest corners of our State and Australia’s Indian Ocean territories.”
Rio Tinto Pilbara operations president Greg Lilleyman said the company was proud to continue to be associated with such a vital service in remote medical care.
“As a business we operate in remote locations so we understand the significant challenges faced by people living and working in regional WA,” he said.
“For many of them, speedy access to the best medical care is literally a matter of life or death.”
The jet’s original medical fitout and operations were also supported by funding from the RFDS Flying 1000 fundraising group: RFDS Victorian Section.
The State Government’s Royalties for Regions program has also underwritten operating costs for the jet to a value of $1 million per year for its initial three years of operation.