CareFlight is partnering with Rio Tinto to improve rural and remote health services in the Northern Territory.

Rio Tinto has pledged $500,000 to CareFlight’s Northern Operations to support emergency aeromedical care across the Top End.

The contribution will allow the Top End team to bolster services during the current COVID-19 response and develop additional options to service the East Arnhem region moving forward.

“These funds will play a vital role in improving patient outcomes across East Arnhem land and ensuring the most remote pockets of the Territory have equity in access to a hospital level of care,” CareFlight NT General Manager Philip Roberts explained.

“As the only aeromedical provider in the Top End covering more than 600,000 square kilometres, it is critical CareFlight can deliver equity in healthcare to all rural and remote residents, as well as our most vulnerable populations.”

The contribution is part of a $1.1 million commitment Rio Tinto has made to support East Arnhem communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“CareFlight provides a vital service to remote and rural areas and is the primary aeromedical, search and rescue service in the Northern Territory,” Rio Tinto Gove Operations general manager Alysia Tringrove said.

“This funding will help CareFlight continue to supply emergency care and other medical services to people in the East Arnhem region and the rest of the Territory.”

CareFlight Senior Flight Nurse and Midwife Trudy Guiney said she feels privileged to have lived and worked in the East Arnhem region for 20 years as part of the CareFlight team servicing the region.

“The greatest joy for me has been building relationships in the community and caring for the families in the region. For example, during our most recent wet season, I was on night shift and received a patient that was critically ill and required an expedited transfer to Royal Darwin Hospital for internal bleeding. One of the most satisfying things was that his wife really trusted us because of our existing strong relationship. When she saw me, she knew he would be looked after, because we’ve looked after her, her children and her grandchildren over the years,” Trudy said.

“During times of uncertainty and taking loved ones across vast distances, trust and confidence in our people and organisation really matters. This patient survived and is back in our community today.”

CareFlight’s funding partners play a vital role in the work the organisation does saving lives every day.

“This partnership and Rio Tinto’s financial support for our service helps us continue to save lives in rural and remote areas,” Philip said.