Flying Doctor Service Medical Chest, Contents
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The RFDS was established in 1928 by the Reverend John Flynn, a minister with the Presbyterian Church. He saw first hand how people living in remote areas struggled with just two doctors providing the only medical care for an area of almost 2 million square kilometres. Flynn signed an agreement with QANTAS in 1927 to operate an aerial ambulance from Cloncurry, Queensland, with the first service taking off on 17 May 1928. In its inaugural year the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service (which changed its name to the Flying Doctor Service in 1942 and the Royal Flying Doctor Service in 1955) flew 50 flights to 26 destinations and treated 225 patients.
In 1939, Dr Keith Sweetman identified that a lot of radio time was being wasted by questioning the remote patients as to what was available in their first aid kits. In 1942, the RFDS decided to standardise medicine chests and their contents. RFDS medical chests contain a range of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical items, which enable emergency and non-emergency treatment to be given to people living and working in remote areas. The chests are an important tool to enable RFDS medical practitioners to treat people on-site for many conditions over the radio or telephone.
Today the RFDS owns a fleet of 52 aircraft, operate 21 bases across Australia, and are responsible for the care of some 270,000 patients a year.
Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.