How remote patients will be ferried

SICK Queenslanders in regional and remote communities will be flown to hospital in jets hired by the State Government.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Lifeflight Australia and Aspen Medical pilots will fly the "air ambulances" which will be added to Queensland Health's emergency aeromedical fleet.

Two will be based in Brisbane, while the other will be in Townsville, from April 1.

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Steven Miles said the three jets would provide certainty to smaller regional centres.

"It is no surprise that we are seeing an unprecedented demand on our health system during the global pandemic of novel coronavirus," Mr Miles said.

"We are doing everything we can to reduce the impact to Queenslanders during this time,'' he said.

It's understood the planes won't just fly between hospitals, but also be able to pick up patients from rural properties, if there is an available airstrip.

It comes amid a major spike in COVID-19 cases in Queensland yesterday, with another 78 people being diagnosed bringing the state's total to 397.



Funding for the jets was allocated in the $1.2 billion of health funding the Government announced yesterday.

Mr Miles said Queensland Health had already increased hospital emergency department and intensive care capacity and boosted testing facilities.

"Now, we will also have three extra air ambulances transporting Queenslanders in need," he said.

"Queenslanders living in regional and remote communities will benefit from the increased capacity these jets will add to the health system.

"Every year, thousands of Queenslanders are transferred via air ambulance to another treating facility.

"Queensland is the most decentralised state in the country, which is why we have invested so much into our aeromedical retrieval system.

"We have secured these critical services through our established partnerships with Lifeflight Australia and Aspen Medical to deliver this extended service.''


Source - World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, other media

Originally published as How remote patients will be ferried