Since launching in 2018, Flying Doctor Community Transport has been providing eligible clients with free transport from home to health appointments and funded social support groups.
The volunteer-led program is currently operating in Heathcote, Rochester, Warracknabeal, and Numurkah.
For the Heathcote and Rochester sites, the patient transport has completed 24,404 trips, travelled 682,735 kilometres, and taken 996 regional Victorians to appointments. This has all been made possible with the help of 50 volunteers.
Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland, who recently met with the group as part of National Volunteer Week, was full of praise for the program.
“In late May it was National Volunteer Week where I was introduced to some amazing groups like the Royal Flying Doctor’s Community Transport team,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The service this team delivers is so impactful for the communities it serves, it is helping save lives every day.
“Off the back of the dismal Budget and lack of funding for key health programs across the State, the work of volunteer groups has never been more crucial.”
The patient transport team’s sole focus is to chauffer patients in isolated communities to medical appointments – importantly, facilitating transfers for appointments focussed on early detection and intervention.
“For many of these patients, this would be financially and practically impossible, meaning the service being offered is crucial in helping many patients change the outcome of their conditions – and in many cases, saving lives,” Ms Cleeland said.
“For the people this service provides for, it’s more than just accessing health care but also about maintaining social connections in otherwise often isolated communities.”
Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria is trying to address these issues by working with Primary Health Networks and regional health care services to bring the Flying Doctor Community Transport service to more communities across the state.
If you are interested to learn more about the Royal Flying Doctor’s Community Transport service or to get involved, visit: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/vic/what-we-do/community-transport/.