Meet RFDS WA Nurse Brooke Maloney

Article supplied by RFDS

It was while Brooke was working as a nurse in the remote Pilbara that she came into regular contact with the RFDS and was inspired to pursue a career as a flight nurse. Today, she is one of more than 50 RFDS WA flight nurses who provide critical support to rural and remote Western Australian women who are with child. Here is her story.

Brooke Maloney

Q) What attracted you to a career with the Royal Flying Doctor Service?
A. Early in my nursing career, I was practicing in a remote location in the inland Pilbara at a two-nurse hospital, with GP/locum support. In that time, the RFDS was a huge part of my day-to-day collaboration and in moving patients to the airstrip for retrieval. Relying on the RFDS for critical care support, prior to Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) being established, set the foundation of my deep respect for the work they, and now I, do.

I found out that in order to be considered as a Flight Nurse for the RFDS by way of training and skills, registration to practice midwifery was an essential criteria, along with specific trauma and critical care courses. When I returned to Perth, I had my sights set on serving as a flight nurse with the RFDS and went about getting the necessary qualifications.

Since joining the RFDS, I have been based at Jandakot and can be tasked to respond to medical emergencies from anywhere across more than 2.5 million square kilometres of Western Australia.

Q) How empowering it is as an RFDS nurse to have midwifery skills under your belt too?

A. It enables me to care for all patients within my full scope of practice. Whether it’s an early pregnancy loss or complication, or late-term or a post natal complication reason for transfer, I have the skill-set and confidence that I can provide the care required.  

Q) What you do love about being a midwife with the RFDS?

A. The midwifery I practice with the RFDS is unlike any other maternity care setting. There is a certain level of autonomy within my role that is difficult to achieve in a hospital setting. Being able to support rural and remote woman with competent and safe maternity care in what is often a scary, isolating and challenging time in their life is a privilege.

Q) What capabilities and capacities does the RFDS have to help pregnant women?

A. RFDS midwives are trained in obstetric emergencies and neonatal resus with regular upskilling and re-certification. But we are also midwives trained in normal birth. Yes, the births we attend are likely pre-term, a complex-care scenario or in less than ideal locations, but ultimately when a baby decides it’s coming, it’s coming.
Supporting normal birth physiology and the emotional and physical needs of the birthing woman is a fundamental aspect to the midwifery care we provide. This is then intertwined with our critical care training to ensure optimal safety for women and their babies during retrieval.

Q) How different is it being a midwife at a hospital in comparison to a flying ICU in the air?

A. There is often you and a pilot and maybe a doctor. In the air, you are solely relying on your midwifery skill, encompassing all of the multidisciplinary aspects of maternity care with the added critical care skill-set and medical equipment should you need it. But you’re doing it all. It’s not for everyone, but I love it.

Q) Can you share with us a time where you had to help deliver a baby?

A. Last August, I responded to a Priority 1 patient located in a country town north of Perth who was labouring pre-term with her second baby.  I walked into the hospital and I knew by her vocalisations that baby was imminent. So I washed my hands, introduced myself and got close to the woman. In a low voice, I said: “My name is Brooke, I am a midwife and it sounds very much like we’re going to have a baby together.” Between contractions I encouraged her to move to a more comfortable position, take sips of water and we listen to the fetal heart rate which was super reassuring for her. I took the time to whisper to her: “You are safe, your baby is safe and we are all in this together.” Within 18 minutes, a beautiful, albeit tiny, baby girl was born. Baby arrived in good condition but we still needed to transport mum and bub to a regional centre for specialist care. A week later when I returned to retrieve another patient, she was able to provide me with an update on her baby’s progress and I was able to debrief properly with her about her experience.

Walk, Run or Ride throughout October to keep the Flying Doctor flying

RFDS oceans to outback

Article supplied by RFDS

Going further for the Flying Doctor! 

We’re excited to announce that Oceans to Outback has now launched! It is the newest fitness challenge in support of the RFDS. 

During the month of October, participants will have the option to walk, run or cycle set distances and travel between the RFDS bases throughout Australia whilst raising funds for our Service.

All participants will receive a free t-shirt too!

What are you waiting for?

Register yourself here

A unique commitment that will remove isolation as a barrier to lifesaving medical care

Article supplied by RFDS

A five-year stint in the Pilbara region of Western Australia during her early working life gave Alice* an understanding for the work of the Flying Doctor and motivated her to make a gift in her Will for the South Eastern Section.

Alice said she wanted to ensure the Flying Doctor would be able to assist people in isolated communities into the future.  

“I have a better appreciation than most of what isolation is like when I lived and worked in the Pilbara region. I lived in a town (Tom Price) that was built for employees of the mine there,” Alice said.  

“The town was built by the mining company and had everything including a supermarket, bank, post office, school and hospital, but once you set foot out of town, there was nothing.  

“It was such a beautiful sight, the red dirt against a bright blue sky and the ghost gums, but it was such an isolated place. The nearest town was Wittenoom, more than 100 kilometres away, and it was several hours to Dampier.  

“If you went anywhere you had to tell people where you were going otherwise they wouldn’t know to look out for you if you didn’t come back.”  

While technology had made the world smaller and kept people in touch, there was no overcoming the tyranny of distance in outback Australia, Alice said, and that was what made the Flying Doctor so important.  

“I don’t think a lot of people who live in cities or even large regional towns could understand what the isolation is like. I got a taste of it, and all I could think was if I got into trouble when I was out there I would hope there was someone like the Flying Doctor who was able to help,” Alice said.  

We are so grateful to our generous supporters like Alice, who want to ensure that no Australian is left without access to quality healthcare regardless of their location. 

If you are interested in leaving a gift in your Will to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section), we would love an opportunity to speak with you confidentially and to answer any questions you may have.  

For more information, please get in touch with our Gift in Wills Coordinator on 02 9941 8857 or or visit our website

* Not real name

Flying Doctor Community Transport Expands to Numurka

RFD expands to numurka

Article supplied by RFDS

Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Victoria and NCN Health are pleased to announce a new partnership to bring the Flying Doctor Community Transport service to the community of Numurkah and surrounds.

Led by a local Program Coordinator and a team of highly trained volunteer drivers, Flying Doctor Community Transport is a free service offering eligible community members transportation to health appointments. The Flying Doctor has been successfully operating this service in Heathcote since 2018, and in Rochester since 2021.

This free service is scheduled to commence soon in the community and is supported by Western Victoria Primary Health Network, Murray Primary Health Network and Gippsland Primary Health Network under the Australian Government’s Primary Health Networks Program.

RFDS Victoria is working to break down barriers to accessing health care, wellbeing support and social connection across the state and is dedicated to assisting all Victorians to receive the care they need.

To find out more about Flying Doctor Community Transport and this new partnership with NCN Health, please call 1300 887 678 or email More information will be shared as the service commences over the next few months.

Latest News from the Royal Flying Doctor Service

Articles supplied by RFDS Grab all the latest news from around Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service.

RFDS Victoria wins Fundraising Team of the Year at FIA Awards –

Meekatharra Flight Nurse retires after 18 years of service with the RFDS –

Roma Saleyards to raise funds for the Flying Doctor –

How did they find and save Peter when he suffered a crippling stroke? –

Near, far, wherever you are, the RFDS has your back –

RFDS helps deliver first baby born in Richmond in 15 years

RFDS helps deliver baby in Richmond

Article supplied by RFDS.

Jess Harvey was 35 weeks pregnant when she awoke in the middle of the night with contractions.

The only problem was, she was at home on a remote station two hours from Richmond — the nearest town — more than 500 kilometres from her nearest tertiary hospital, and 270 kilometres away from her partner Sam, who was at a mustering camp.

“I called my mum and just cried; this wasn’t how I planned it,” Jess said.  

Friends on the property drove Jess two hours to the health service in town, as her contractions got closer and closer together.

As there were no midwives stationed at the health service, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) based in Mount Isa, received an early morning call from Retrieval Services Queensland to assist.

The team of three including a doctor, a flight nurse, and pilot, touched down in Richmond a short time later.

RFDS Doctor Shima Ghedia said it was a privilege to assist in the delivery of Darby, the first baby to be born at the health service in Richmond in 15 years.

Flight Nurse Leanne Ashbacher

“Jess was an absolute trooper; Sam was there to support and cut the cord, our Flight Nurse (Midwifery) Leanne Ashbacher was incredible, and even our pilot got involved,” Dr Shima said.

“The local staff at the health centre were also overjoyed.”

Jess said the whole team were incredible.

“They were unreal, I cannot thank them enough. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

Jess and baby Darby were flown by the RFDS crew to Townsville for further care and have since returned home to their property.

Doctor Shima said when the team finally touched back down in Mount Isa, there was yet another reason to celebrate that day, with RFDS Pilot Michael Flood hitting his milestone of 10,000 flight hours.

“Michael has been flying for more than 22 years and has worked with the Flying Doctor for many years, so this was a wonderful achievement,” she said.

“I’m so proud of the whole team and this was certainly a day all involved won’t forget any time soon.”

Providing vital care to those who need it most

Article supplied by RFDS

If you or someone you love has had a medical emergency in remote Queensland, you’ll understand how comforting it is to know the Flying Doctor is on its way.

Responding to life-threatening events that require urgent medical care is all in a day’s work for the Flying Doctor. This gripping video shows some of the emergencies the Flying Doctor team has been called to respond to. The Flying Doctor provides life-saving medical care in the most difficult of situations.

Pledge your support this Flying Doctor day on the 17th of May, with a gift in your Will so that future generations of Queenslanders can take comfort knowing the Flying Doctor will be there for them.

Pledge today to support the Flying Doctor in this extraordinarily kind and generous way.

If you would like to learn more about gifts in wills please contact Heather Stott on 07 3852 7586 or email

Flying Doctor Community Transport is set to expand its service right across Victoria

Article supplied by RFDS.

This service expansion is made possible through an Australian Government’s Primary Health Networks (PHN) Program grant obtained by Western Victoria Primary Health Network. Western Victoria PHN has partnered with Murray PHN and Gippsland PHN so that the program can reach communities in the catchments of all three rural Victorian Primary Health Networks. While the exact locations of the new service hubs are still being finalised, RFDS Victoria is excited that all three PHNs have come together for this project.

Flying Doctor Community Transport provides free transportation for eligible clients to their health appointments and social group activities. The service recognises that people living in rural communities can face additional barriers when it comes to accessing health care and social connection due to a geographically spread population and limited transport options. As such, the service aims to make it easier and more affordable for people to attend vital health care appointments, thereby enabling people to take control of their own health and reducing occurrences of missed appointments.

“The greatest cost to our health system is missed appointments,” says Scott Chapman, Chief Executive RFDS Victoria. “For the people who are having to go for cancer treatments or other things, they rely on their family to have to take a day off and come up from Melbourne to get them there, and so people just miss appointments. This service is designed to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“What we have seen with the success of this service is that we are not only helping individuals but contributing to healthy communities.”

Western Victoria Primary Health Network CEO Rowena Clift says they are excited to partner with RFDS Victoria to bring this great service to more communities.

“We are delighted to partner with RFDS Victoria. This unique and valuable service reaches into parts of our community where health services are not readily available or are some distance away. Through RFDS, people can receive the health assistance they need. We also look forward to the establishment of the new hubs in our region to further enhance this service for our community.”

The Flying Doctor Community Transport service originally launched in Heathcote in central Victoria in 2018, and expanded to Rochester in 2021. In these areas, RFDS Victoria’s partnerships with Heathcote Health and Rochester and Elmore District Health Service, respectively, have been a large driver for the program’s success.

“Having already established successful and supportive relationships in Heathcote and Rochester, we are excited by this opportunity to partner with three innovative PHNs,” says Melanie Trivett, General Manager for Primary Health Care, RFDS Victoria. “We look forward to working with Western Victoria Primary Health Network, Murray PHN and Gippsland PHN to develop a service that is run with the community, for the community.”

In addition to its strong partnerships, Flying Doctor Community Transport is made possible thanks to its very generous volunteer drivers. The volunteers are typically passionate locals who are committed to supporting their community, or health care students who are looking for some real world experience – in fact, some volunteers from the Heathcote and Rochester programs have gone on to join the Flying Doctor’s Mobile Patient Care (MPC) service.

“Once our new sites are confirmed, we will begin seeking expressions of interest from locals in those communities to join our team of volunteer drivers,” says Dr Trivett. “Volunteers are the backbone of community transport services, and so we are always looking for ways we can celebrate our volunteers and recognise their generous contributions, such as through our involvement in the inaugural Victorian Community Transport Week.”

To find out more about Flying Doctor Community Transport and its pending expansion, contact our team on 1300 887 678 or via You can also keep an eye on our Facebook page for all updates.

2021 RFDS Local Hero Awards

Article supplied by RFDS.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) has announced our nine RFDS Local Hero Award winners for 2021. The annual awards, proudly supported by Ergon Energy Retail and Queensland Country Life, recognise Oueenslanders who have donated their time and energy to keep the Flying Doctor flying. Read about the Local Heroes below and vote for your favourite today!

Sam Hughes aka 'The Travelling Jackaroo'

Brisbane — Sam Hughes 

In March last year, 19-year-old Sam Hughes set off from Maleny in a bright orange, 1957 Chamberlain 9G tractor named ‘Slim’, towing an eye-catching trailer, which now features a small RFDS aircraft replica on top.

Sam, or the ‘Travelling Jackaroo’ as he is well-known, decided to drive his tractor around Australia, with the aim of raising funds for the Flying Doctor and Dolly’s Dream. In just 10 months, not only has Sam raised more than $50,000 for the RFDS, but he has also brought incredible awareness to the work of both organisations.

Bohdi Wochnik

Bundaberg — Bohdi Wocknik 

Inspired by three RFDS transfers of family members, Bohdi Wochnik has raised more than $25,000 for the Flying Doctor over the past 10 years. Bohdi’s younger sister was retrieved by the RFDS after she was bitten by a king brown snake, his grandad was transferred after he lost a finger, and his uncle was also flown by the Service following a helicopter accident.

His fundraising efforts have amassed from raft races that he has staged over the years at his family’s property. Now that 20-year-old Bohdi is working on a farm near Gin Gin, he is planning to pass the organisation of the event to his little sister to continue the incredible work.

Karen Koko

Cairns — Karen Koko

Lockhart River resident Karen Koko is a leader within her remote community. As a senior healthcare worker, she regularly provides advice and assistance to those in need.

Not originally from Lockhart, the community has accepted her with open arms. Karen’s praised for her extensive knowledge of her community and their health needs. She’s been called the heart and soul of the Lockhart River Primary Health Care Clinic.

The Bauer Family

Charleville — The Bauer Family 

For more than three generations, the Bauer family has supported the RFDS, with several members having been transferred during this time. When their son Angus was two years old, he was having difficulty breathing. As they rushed to Augathella Hospital, Angus turned blue in the car. The RFDS was called, and he was flown to Toowoomba.

The Bauers have regularly donated the proceeds from their cattle sales to the Flying Doctor. The most recent sale generated more than $17,000 for the RFDS.

David Crust

Longreach — David Crust

Before his death, David Crust spent many years fundraising, volunteering for and promoting the RFDS. From participating in treks to organising raffles at the local bowls club, ‘Crusty’ raised a significant amount of donations for the Flying Doctor.

Following a battle with cancer, the RFDS flew David to Longreach so he could spend his final days at home. An annual tournament is now held at the Longreach Bowls Club in memory of David, with the proceeds donated to the Flying Doctor

Justine Collins

Mount Isa — Justine Collins

Nurse, Justine Collins was on shift in Mount Isa when she received a call about an accident at a remote station around 25 minutes away. She immediately notified the RFDS and took the clinic ambulance, along with the warden, to the property.

The patient, Paul Woods, had been trampled by a bull. While Justine didn’t know the full extent of his injuries, she knew that most of his ribs were broken and there was risk of a punctured lung. Justine recalls experiencing immense relief upon the RFDS arriving at the station.

Bronwyn Fitzgerald and Colleen Timms

Rockhampton — Bronwyn Fitzgerald and Colleen Timms

For several years, Bronwyn Fitzgerald and her mum, Colleen Timms, have knitted toys for the Woolworths Toy Drive, in support of the RFDS. Despite the fact the drive is conducted annually, the pair knit year round in preparation.

The toys are of great benefit to the Flying Doctor, helping comfort sick or injured children during what may be an unsettling experience. As acashier for RFDS corporate partner Woolworths, Bronwyn is also a great supporter of the in-store fundraising campaign which is staged each year.

Justin and Kate Boshammer

Roma — The Boshammer Family 

In November 2020, seven-month-old Zara Boshammer died as a result of a rare disease that she was diagnosed with after birth. Her parents Justin and Kate decided to honour their little girl with an event which raised funds for the RFDS and Steve Waugh Foundation, as well as a high flow oxygen facility for their local hospital in Miles.

Zara’s Day in 2020 raised more than $148,000for the three organisations. But the family were not yet done. They again staged a Zara’s Day event last year, raising another $30,000 for the RFDS, along with $60,000 for the Steve Waugh Foundation.

Blankets of Love Townsville

Townsville — Blankets of Love

The Blankets of Love group was established more than 20 years ago. Since then, a group of ladies have met regularly to create beautiful quilts for RFDS patients. 

Over the years, many ladies have contributed to the cause, creating quilts of all sizes to provide comfort to young patients of the Flying Doctor.

Thank God for the Flying Doctor

Article supplied by RFDS

Far North Queensland cattle producer and tourist operator Lyn French has a lifelong association with the Flying Doctor.

So too, does her husband Rob, whose ancestors worked closely with the aerial ambulance and then the RFDS to help bring transceivers to Queensland stations.

For more than 150 years the French family has lived on Gilberton Station, an 88,000-acre seventh generation cattle station approximately 500 kilometres west of Townsville.

Lyn says if it wasn’t for the Flying Doctor’s emergency and primary health care services her family would struggle to live in such a remote location.

“Growing up, my mother was always saying ‘thank God for the Flying Doctor’ and I never understood what she meant because I didn’t know life without them.”

Now married, with children and grandchildren of her own, Lyn says she truly appreciates and understands the importance of her mother’s words.

“There’s been a few accidents where we wouldn’t have survived without the RFDS.

“The worst incident we had was in 1999, when our daughter Anna was only six years old. She had a horrific accident while mustering, sustaining a compound fracture to her leg and breaking her pelvis in three places.

“Being an hour from the homestead meant we had to unsaddle our horses, make a bed on the back of the ute, tie Anna’s legs together with the rein of the horse bridle to keep her stable, and travel the 20 kilometres home at a snail’s pace to call for help.

“By the time we contacted the Flying Doctor, Anna had gone into shock. I don’t know what the outcome would have been if the RFDS wasn’t able to fly her to Townsville. As it was, she spent three months in traction before coming home in a full body cast for another eight weeks.

“So, in my mother’s words: ‘thank God for the Flying Doctor!’

“They’re such a constant in our lives — they’re our GP, our chemist, our dentist, emotional support and our mantel of safety — we really couldn’t live where we do without them.”

In 2001, Gilberton Station hosted the first RFDS Field Days for the Cairns-based health promotions team and Lyn says it’s the best thing to happen to their community.

“From the young to the old, RFDS staff have taught all in our community so much about primary health care. We’ve learned about medical issues we weren’t aware of, how to treat snake bites, respond to farming accidents, administer medication and how to prioritise our health and wellbeing.”

As a mother of three, Lyn said administering medication would not be possible without the RFDS medical chest.

“Our chest holds items ranging from antibiotics to heart attack medication and injections for pain relief.

“Everything is safely labelled, so when the doctor prescribes a medication we can easily identify and administer it appropriately.”

More recently, the French family has also come to appreciate the Flying Doctor’s telehealth service.

“My elderly father-in-law has had some health issues over the past few years and to be able to access healthcare from home has been a godsend.

He’s able to regularly chat to his doctor without making the eight-hour trip to Cairns.

“I’m so grateful for all of the services provided by the RFDS and to have had a lifelong association with such an iconic organisation. My children, and now grandchildren, have grown up idolizing the Flying Doctor and I have no doubt the French family will be associated with the RFDS for generations to come.”READ MORE STAFF AND PATIENT STORIES