Message 23.12.2016

The RFDS Gears Up for the 21st Century With New Facilities

The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s (RFDS/Central Ops) new purpose-built Adelaide base is a win-win for patients and staff. The state-of-the-art, often subtile, offerings are in stark contrast to the previous RFDS headquarters, which, having been called home since 1991, could kindly be described as durable. Operational since early September, the new two-storey-facility sits on the western edge of Adelaide Airport. Central Operations today transfers about 6000 patiens a year through Adelaide, incorporating Port Augusta, Alice Springs and Broken Hill operations. Pilatus Australia Pty Ltd

The headquarters – “future-proofed” for at least 30 years – bring together about 100 operational and administrative RFDS staff who previously worked out of different locations. The facility has all the mod-cons required to make the transfer of about 20 patients a day – often in trying situations – as efficient and comfortable as possible. The RFDS committed to investing the required 13-million-Australian-Dollar – all of which was obtained through fundraising and donations, reflects the most significant capital investment in its almost 90-year history.

High Operational Functionality

A key element of the new facility is its spatial design response to operational functionality and RFDS cultural alignment. The architectural design has ensured that RFDS operations are visible and obvious from all parts of the facility. As soon as you walk through reception you can see inside the hangar, the airfield in the distance, RFDS aircraft on the apron and ambulances driving by. The spacious hangar can comfortably hold up to 6 PC-12s.

Features of the patient transfer facility include time-critical design factors such as private patient management bays with resuscitation capability, multiple undercover ambulance parking bays and two-way tarmac access for RFDS and Ambulance crews. All the care rooms – the main facility capable of holding up to eight patients at a time – are plumbed for oxygen and suction, while an in-situ ceiling hoist system is able to manoeuvre bariatric or disabled patients off stretchers with a sling and safely transfer them into the bathroom.

Benefits for Employees

The large work café on the upper level will ensure staff unity, collaboration and communication – all contributing to a unified team devoted to patient care – while the crew sleeping quarters are equally as secluded for optimum rest and recovery required for night shift. The expansive and unique views, combined with the facilities, will see the RFDS host networking and corporate events once it has fully settled into its new facilities. This will allow the organisation to inform a greater number of South Australians about the important role it plays within the community, which it hopes will lead to a greater number of donors and sponsors. Other key aspects of the facility include a videoconferencing room, medical simulation area, two administrative areas, boardroom, executive offices, and multiple training and meeting rooms.

The new RFDS hangar has also been built to accommodate the twin-engine jet Pilatus PC-24. RFDS Central Ops CEO John Lynch said it would have the same capability to land and take-off from dirt and gravels strips of sufficient length, “but it will give us far greater response capability for major trauma”.