BHP assists RFDS in flying hundreds of COVID-19 patients

Image: Royal Flying Doctor Service.

BHP has helped the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to transport more than 100 coronavirus patients across Western Australia, having provided the organisation with a $2 million donation.

The mining giant made the contribution in April, which had since enabled an average of 25 rescues per day.

With BHP’s support, the RFDS is busier than ever responding to the needs of regional and remote Western Australian communities.

Since the pandemic began, the Western Australian RFDS has transported more than 100 people with suspected COVID-19 cases and three others with confirmed cases to receive treatment.

Due to the Western Australian hard border closure and the number of West Australians taking holidays at home, the RFDS has seen a 25 to 30 per cent rise in patients compared with this time last year.

RFDS senior staff specialist doctor Andrew Thelander said the funding from BHP was greatly appreciated as the organisation developed new COVID-19 critical protocols and infection control measures with very limited time.

“When the pandemic began, there were moments when I couldn’t sleep. Parts of it were overwhelming,” Thelander said.

“But from the chief executive officer to all our crews, we were united and resolved to keep everyone safe, both patients and staff.

“We had to stay calm and just do what needed to be done.”

BHP Western Australian acting asset president Tim Day said supporting the communities in which the company operated was an important priority for the company.

“BHP is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate and beyond,” Day said.

“This contribution to the RFDS is part of our $50 million vital resources fund, which has been established to provide support to regional Western Australia during this difficult time.

“We will continue to look for ways for BHP to support regional communities as we work through this challenge together.”