Better understanding our clients to deliver culturally safe and appropriate services to Indigenous people

Lauren Gale1, Lara Bishop2, Martin Laverty3

1Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, Level 2, 10-12 Brisbane Ave, Barton ACT 2600,


The RFDS provides critical health services to remote and rural Australians, including over 92,000 telehealth consultations; 65,000 patient transports; and, 15.000 primary healthcare clinics as part of 292,000 patient contacts every year. These services are available to Indigenous Australians living in remote and rural areas the RFDS serves.

Recognising the significant proportion of patients receiving RFDS services that are Indigenous the RFDS is committing particular effort to ensure delivery of culturally safe and appropriate services.


To ensure that the RFDS is delivering the most appropriate services to Indigenous people, internal service delivery data is currently being analysed by the new RFDS Research and Policy Unit. A research paper is currently in development which will present previously unpublished RFDS aeromedical retrieval and clinic data associated with the main diseases and illnesses affecting Indigenous RFDS clients. Through the analysis of internal data, the RFDS will also be seeking to recommend and implement strategies to improve ongoing collection and analysis data as related to Indigenous clients.


Early analysis of aeromedical data suggest that respiratory issues amongst Indigenous children; pregnancy complications in younger Indigenous women; and, circulatory issues amongst middle-aged and older Indigenous Australians may necessitate RFDS aeromedical evacuations at a disproportionate rate. This paper will assess these findings alongside contributing factors and findings of RFDS clinic data.

Discussion / recommendations

The RFDS will be seeking to make prevention-focused recommendations to address, as possible, the reasons for retrieval of Indigenous patients. These recommendations, and the findings of the research paper will be presented in this presentation.

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