Funds to boost health services

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Regional health services are set to receive a boost, with the help of funds raised from Opulence in the Outback.

The event to help celebrate Australian Year of the Farmer, held in March, raised more than $90,000 for Saint John Ambulance and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

St John Ambulance's North Midlands sub-centre will receive $46,543 for the construction of a new fixed transfer station at the Three Springs airstrip.

"It will be like a free-standing patio, where we can drive through and unload patients out of the weather and give them some privacy as well," St John Ambulance North Midlands sub-centre chairwoman Merle Ibister said.

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"We are an intermediary which comes in to assist getting the patient from the hospital to RFDS but we both rely heavily on each other."

St John volunteer Robert Hunt said patient transfers were a main part of the work he did.

"Quite often we don't have a doctor here, so we do a lot more transfers than other districts," he said.

"Depending on the injuries a patient has, it can take quite a while to transfer them. Once we get the transfer station, we'll be able to give patients some more protection."

This year 17 patients have been transferred from the North Midlands region to Perth.

St John North Midlands sub-centre services Coorow, Carnamah, Eneabba and Three Springs.

RFDS media and public relations manager Joanne Hill said the RFDS would spend its $46,781 raised at Opulence in the Outback on equipment upgrades.

"The changing pace of technology means we are consistently reviewing and upgrading equipment for our aircraft as well as medical equipment, and their ongoing support makes the purchase of new equipment possible," she said.

"It is contributions like this that keep the Flying Doctor flying."

Opulence in the Outback head co-ordinator Kylie Tremlett said she chose these two organisations to donate to because of their reliance on outside funds and significance to the community.

"They are volunteer organisations, so we wanted to do anything we could do to help," she said.

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