Patient transport agreement

PATIENTS in Sale and surrounds will benefit from a new agreement between Central Gippsland Health Service and the Royal Flying Doctor Service for the provision of non-emergency patient transport across the region.

The agreement reached between the two entities comes just weeks after the RFDS announced it would be relocating from Maffra to a facility in the Sale-based health precinct by March.

CGHS chief executive officer Frank Evans said from this week the Flying Doctors would be the preferred provider of non-emergency patient transport for CGHS.

“CGHS looks forward to working closely with the RFDS, an organisation with a long history of providing high quality primary health care services for patients in rural, remote and regional areas throughout Australia,” he said.

“This new agreement means CGHS patients will now benefit from a service delivered by 16 mobile patient care staff using road vehicles based in the region.

“Those staff will be supported by RFDS aircraft capability based at Essendon airport in Melbourne, while RFDS Victoria also has complex needs vehicles available when required.”

Mr Evans, who estimated the hospital spent about $200,000 annually on patient transfers, said a number of options were looked at but RFDS was the preferred choice because of the pending co-location.

“We have a great relationship with them and they are cost competitive,” he said.

“Our booking system will be through RFDS where available, if not (available) we move on to AV (Ambulance Victoria) or another provider.

“Another great benefit is the training options, which is very exciting.”

RFDS Victoria chief executive Scott Chapman said the Flying Doctors were delighted to be working in partnership with CGHS.

“Together we can provide quality care and ensure patients who need transporting to and from hospital, home and specialist treatment will have the best possible service,” he said.

“We’re happy to be further consolidating our presence in Sale and the region and look forward to working with Central Gippsland Health.

“We understand the importance of providing quality patient transport services for country Victorians who often have to travel long distances to access hospital and specialist care.”

Mr Chapman said under the three year agreement, CGHS could also benefit from RFDS’ air transport.

“We will be the preferred provider if we are not out on the road,” he said.

The state government and Wellington Shire Council are providing more than $540,000 in funding for a new facility to accommodate the RFDS in Sale’s CGHS health precinct.