When the Doctor’s out, the Angel’s in
Saturday, 10th July, 2021
By Cherie von Hrchner
Few in Broken Hill are unfamiliar with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the saviour of countless lives in Australia’s most remote places.
But, sometimes, there are medical problems the RFDS can’t fix - that fall below the “emergency” threshold required by the busy airborne medic.
That’s when Angel Flight steps in.
Established in 2003, Angel Flight does not carry aeromedical staff or medical equipment so does not act as an alternative to the Royal Flying Doctor Service or Air Ambulance. But its pilots are on standby ready to fly into rural and regional towns to help get the sick and injured to their city medical appointments.
Angel Flight CEO, Marjorie Pagani, says the charity has completed almost 50,000 flights since 2003, flying almost 20 million kilometres Australia wide, averaging about 20 flights a day.
“All flights are free and are provided by pilots who volunteer their planes and their time to help get their country friends to their specialist city medical appointments,” Mrs Pagani says.
“Once in the city a volunteer driver will provide transport between the airport and their appointment or accommodation.”
Mrs Pagani says anybody can apply for a free Angel Flight, but that those attempting to score a sneaky free holiday flight should not apply.
“A referral can be sent to Angel Flight by a patient’s health professional, such as a doctor, nurse or social worker, who is familiar with the patient’s medical condition.
“Flight Coordinators can then organise a flight within five-to-ten working days, and if the referrer is not registered with Angel Flight they can register quickly and easily on the Angel Flight website.”
Once a referral has been approved, a volunteer pilot and driver is organised and Angel Flight will notify the passengers of all arrangements.
“Passengers can fly multiple times if their condition requires them to attend a city medical facility for ongoing treatment,” Mrs Pagani says.
Flights can be organised from Broken Hill Airport to all capital cities.
Angel Flight is a not-for-profit charity that is funded by donations from individuals, community groups and organisations, with 85% of donations going directly into the flights (only 15% is spent on administration and overheads).
If you think Angel Flight might be able to help you or someone you know go to their website www.angelflight.org.au for further information or call on 1300 726 567.