THE Royal Flying Doctor Service will be better equipped to provide critical care for patients in rural Queensland following the delivery of specialised stretchers to remote airstrips.
The Queensland Ambulance Service has donated 38 Stryker stretchers to the RFDS to be used to transfer patients from ambulances to the aircraft.
The manual stretchers are excess to QAS needs as they have been upgrading their fleet to automatic lift stretchers since 2014.
RFDS Queensland section chief executive officer Meredith Staib said the stretchers would be distributed to remote airstrips across the state on a need's basis.
Locations include Dajarra and Gregory Downs in the north west; Mackay, Palm Island, Collinsville and Charters Towers in North Queensland; Bamaga and Cooktown in the Far North; and Mitchell, Kingaroy and St George in the south west.
Ms Staib said eight of the stretchers would also be provided to RFDS bases in Queensland for staff training purposes.
"By replacing old stretchers which were beginning to show their age, and standardising our service with these new stretchers, we'll increase the efficiency in which we can transfer patients from QAS vehicles to RFDS aircraft," Ms Staib said.
She said the RFDS transferred about 11,700 patients each year to emergency and specialist care across Queensland.
"This generous gift from QAS will help streamline our patient transfer efforts in remote areas and help us get patients to the care they need even quicker.... quite often, every second counts," Ms Staib said.
"We will also make it safer for our frontline personnel, including our medical staff and pilots, who often have to perform heavy lifting with the older stretchers.
"We are extremely grateful for this donation from QAS and the efficient use of resources across health agencies to deliver world class healthcare, which highlights the strong history of collaboration between the RFDS, QAS and Queensland Health."