CHARLEVILLE'S Royal Flying Doctor base at Charleville, the oldest continually operating base in the country, is looking forward to its next 70 years of providing a mantle of safety over the outback, thanks to a major redevelopment that was opened last week.
A new base, hangar and visitor centre were all opened by Governor Paul de Jersey and Mrs Kaye de Jersey last Friday before a crowd which included descendants of Charleville's first flying doctor, Allan Vickers.
The new facility is designed to be low maintenance, energy and water efficient, and incorporates a 5-kilowatt solar system at the base.
It received funding assistance from the federal government's Health and Hospital Fund, and the Murweh Shire Council.
Queensland RFDS chairman Bill Mellor said the development enabled the co-location of the base administration, while the hangar offered increased efficiencies, as well as a purpose-built patient-transfer facility and a new visitor centre.
"The Flying Doctor is delighted that the Charleville community now has these much-needed new facilities to help better deliver services," he said.
Services include remote medical consultations, aeromedical retrievals, primary health-care clinics incorporating general practice, as well as child and family health, mental health and health promotion.
In just the last year, the Charleville team transported more than 400 patients and undertook 4700 patient consultations across 622,000 square kilometres of south-west Queensland, extending from the NSW border to the Northern Territory and South Australia borders in the west and the Carnarvon Ranges in the east.
Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott joined the official party to celebrate the milestone, along with Murweh Mayor Denis Cook, current and past staff members, past patients, supporters, station owners and suppliers.
Cr Cook told onlookers his council was delighted to have been able to support the RFDS by providing the land for the new chapter in its history.