United We Stand

Mrs Kathy Arthurs1

1Royal Flying Doctor Service, Central Operations, Alice Springs, Australia


Different stakeholders at times connect to provide services that enable people to live and work in remote Australia. The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and the Alice Springs Hospital (ASH) based Medical Retrieval and Consultation Centre (MRaCC) have partnered together to provide a 24 hours aeromedical service across Central Australia, an area the size of Western Europe. This model provides support and assistance to the Remote Area Nurses (RANS) in Remote Clinics, removing the concept they are working totally alone.

Prior to February 2018, requests for medical advice and evacuation were directed to an on-call Remote Medical Practitioner, a primary care specialist who consulted as required with the duty Emergency Consultant managing the ASH Emergency Department. On occasions, RANS would make multiple telephone calls for clinical advice and support and it became evident the pre-retrieval management of critically unwell patients in particular was suboptimal and not timely, escalating the response for a deteriorating patient.

Post February 2018, MRaCC alone lead the co-ordination and management of retrievals in the Central Australian region. Serviced by dedicated critical care trained retrieval consultants, who are not otherwise engaged with ongoing primary health care consults or the overseeing of a busy ED, these expert clinicians are familiar with the relevant patient populations, the professional aeromedical platform and personnel of the RFDS, and are ready to assess, treat, manage and retrieve patients to definitive care in a timely manner thereby reducing the course of deterioration.

The diversity displayed in Central Australia, through the co-operation of MRaCC, RANS and the RFDS has resulted in a safer, more effective and efficient retrieval service for the patients resulting in the referring RANS and the RFDS Flight Nurses, even though working remote, to feel far less alone.


Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife, Graduate Diploma Emergency, Bachelor Health Management (Operational), Certificate IV Training & Assessment.

Worked 28 years in a rural hospital in NSW and 14 years as a Flight Nurse.

Currently Senior Flight Nurse, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Central Operations, Alice Springs Base NT.