New funding to boost RFDS Far North regional health care

Press Releases

New funding to boost RFDS Far North regional health care

MEDIA RELEASE – Tuesday 21 May 2024



A Royal Flying Doctor Service SA/NT (RFDS) project to construct a state-of-the-art health, research, and education centre for the state’s Far North, has been boosted by almost $1 million in funding from the State Government through the Enabling Infrastructure Program.

The $21 million centre, to be built in Port Augusta, will provide increased access to multi-disciplinary primary health care for the local community and for more than 1600 existing RFDS clients who live remotely, but visit Port Augusta regularly.

Initially, the clinic will support up to 25,000 patient consultations every year spanning General Practice, mental health, occupational therapy, chronic disease management, Aboriginal health, digital health, and oral health services.

The centre will also serve as an education and training base, offering placements for Medical, Nursing and Allied Health students in partnership with tertiary and vocational education partners.

It will additionally host post-graduate students to undertake Research In Practice, improving long-term rural health outcomes.

It is anticipated the hub will help attract, train, and retain a future health workforce for the Far North, including Rural Generalists – doctors specialising in health care delivery in the bush.

The equivalent of 222 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs would be supported during the construction phase of this project, with the RFDS employing 17 new ongoing FTEs as a result.

The Enabling Infrastructure Program is part of the $15 million Thriving Regions Fund, aimed at providing support for the community and economic enabling infrastructure projects.

Grants were available between $50,000 and $1 million for significant projects that will benefit regional communities.

Quotes attributable to Clare Scriven

The Malinauskas Labor Government designed the Thriving Regions Fund Enabling Infrastructure program to best focus on the needs of regional communities and key regional initiatives.

This project will support the development of infrastructure for the wider benefit of our regional communities, which is a key goal of the Enabling Infrastructure program.

This facility in Port Augusta forms the foundation for providing rural and remote healthcare in remote South Australia and will provide a much-needed service for so many people in the
area and further afield thanks to the RFDS.

Enhancing and supporting our resilient regional communities is vitally important and is why this program and other initiatives through the Thriving Regions Fund have such strong
support from the State Government.

Quotes attributable to Tony Vaughan ASM, RFDS SA/NT Chief Executive
While the RFDS is trusted to deliver emergency care when it’s needed the most, we are also committed to investing in preventative and whole-of-life healthcare for rural and remote

The state-of-the-art Integrated Primary Health & Education Centre will not only increase access to health services for the people of Port Augusta and the Far North, but it will also
provide valuable training and education opportunities for the future health professionals who will support these communities.

We are delighted the State Government has led the way in backing this project with a significant contribution of $1 million.

We understand that rural placements and first-hand training are crucial factors in influencing young health professionals to consider careers in remote health and we trust this new
project will create a long-lasting legacy for the health and wellbeing of Far North residents.

Quotes attributable to Geoff Brock MP, Member for Stuart

This long-awaited facility will be a great asset to not only Port Augusta but also the whole of the Upper Spencer Gulf. This facility to enable medical officers, plus others to provide the
health care across the rural locations.

This will give local people the opportunity to work and learn locally, and partnerships with tertiary educators proves that this can be achieved in regional South Australia.

Quotes attributable to Eddie Hughes MP, Member for Giles
I warmly welcome this $1 million contribution towards establishing the multidisciplinary RFDS service in Port Augusta.

This new initiative will go a long way to addressing waiting lists, shortages of GP’s and other medical professionals in Port Augusta.

It’s more good news for Port Augusta and highlights the importance of Port Augusta as a service centre for the north of our state.