RFDS Gains 23 Powered Stretchers As Part Of New Partnership With State Govt

RFDS Gains 23 Powered Stretchers As Part Of New Partnership With State Govt

South Australia Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade

New Stretchers To Power RFDS

Victor P Taffa

Critically ill patients across South Australia will be able to transfer seamlessly between ambulance and aeromedical aircraft thanks to a new partnership between South Australia Government and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade, today announced that the South Australia Government will provide 23 powered stretchers to the RFDS.

This means that that patients will not need to be moved between stretchers when transferring between an ambulance and a plane and on to another ambulance upon landing.

“Patients will experience improved comfort, support and safety with the same stretchers being used across all health services in the State. The stretchers are powered, offer a range of positions and are easier and safer to get on and off any vehicle.” Minister Wade said.

“Following the introduction of powered stretchers across the South Australia Ambulance Service fleet in 2017, patients transferring between hospitals via aircraft had to switch between stretchers twice. We know that transfers can be stressful for patients so this really will provide comfort and reduce risk for both the patient and the health professionals involved.”

Minister Wade said that he had also extended the Government’s existing seven-year inter-hospital transfer contract with RFDS until 2022.

“Enduring and treasured partnership with RFDS is an important part of enabling South Australians living in country areas to be able to access the very best healthcare in the hospital or health centre that is right for their needs. RFDS provide aeromedical aircraft, and in some cases medical support, so it is important that we support them to put these stretchers to use.” Minister Wade said.

Inter-hospital contract equates to an approximately $32 Million investment in health care over the course of 3 years and covers all patients transferring from country hospitals to other public health services, in particular metropolitan spine hospitals.

SAAS provides a coordination hub through SAAS Medstar for all patients transferring from a public hospital, regardless of their destination.

SAAS Executive Director State-wide Services Ryan Lovett said the new stretchers and extension of the contract will further improve the quality of care for the community.

“In South Australia we have some of the best ambulance clinicians in the world. Our SAAS Medstar teams provide critical care in ambulances and in RFDS aircraft so it makes sense to equip them with the latest cutting-edge technologies. Powered stretchers, compared to the RFDS manual stretchers, will reduce the manual tasks of loading and unloading, and raising and lowering patients on stretchers.” Mr. Lovett said.

Abbreviations:

SAAS              South Australia Ambulance Service