Partnering for better rural healthcare access

In 2021, Fosterville Gold Mine (FGM) began a three-year partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) for its Community Transport Program, which provides convenient access to health appointments and social activities for Heathcote, Rochester, and surrounding communities. 

Working alongside Heathcote Health and Rochester and Elmore District Health Service (REDHS), the RFDS offers a community transport service that enables eligible community members to attend their healthcare appointments and social activity groups. 

FGM’s sponsorship has enabled the RFDS to:

  • Purchase 20 volunteer uniforms;
  • Provide first aid training to 30 volunteers; 
  • Conduct Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) renewal training with 32 volunteers; and 
  • Carry out training and induction days which provided a supportive environment for volunteers to enhance their knowledge.

 "We are thrilled to be part of this partnership to support the essential services provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to the communities surrounding the mine," said Trudi Jackson, FGM's Senior Community Advisor. 

 Clients of the RFDS Community Transport Service also shared their positive experiences. 

A frequent service user, Grant, expressed his gratitude for the service during his cancer treatment. "I was never late for one appointment, never once," he said. "The service provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service is invaluable, truly marvellous."

Maggie, another client, emphasised the financial relief the service offers. "If the flying doctors service weren't there, you'd be paying for a taxi, and goodness knows how much that would be," she explained.

Peter Dillon-Shallard, a dedicated volunteer driver, shared his perspective, stating that: "People living in remote areas often have to cancel medical appointments because they can't get there. This program helps individuals stay connected to their community and avoid having to uproot their lives." 

Another volunteer driver, Rob Walters, highlighted the program's positive impact, saying, "Patients that we transport are so thankful because they don't have any other way of getting to their medical appointments." 

Through the efforts of dedicated volunteers like Rob and Peter, the Community Transport Service continues to provide a lifeline to those in need of essential healthcare access and social inclusion in regional and rural areas. 

Source: RFDS Victoria (