Flight program a boon for patients

Alexander ScottPilbara News
WACHS Chief Operating Officer Margaret Denton with WACHS WINGS Coordinator, Callum Broadway
Camera IconWACHS Chief Operating Officer Margaret Denton with WACHS WINGS Coordinator, Callum Broadway Credit: Picture: WACHS

An emergency health program that flies Pilbara patients to Perth has been used by more than 280 people since it first got off the ground.

The WA Country Health Service WINGS program was launched in April as a last resort for patients to find seats on charter flights after commercial services were slashed.

Run in partnership with the Department of Transport and Royal Flying Doctor Service, flights are provided for a range of patients, including for urgent surgical cases, chemotherapy drugs, and mental health support.Point Samson resident Lisa Ogle used the service last month to travel to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for a gallium PET scan.

Ms Ogle had a routine appendectomy that uncovered a rare tumour on her appendix a few years ago, and it requires scans every six months. “My husband and I thought we’d have to end up driving to Perth — it was really stressful and such a relief when I got a flight,” she said.

“In just a couple of days they got me on a plane on Sunday night from Hedland with BHP and then back again on Tuesday to Karratha with Rio Tinto.”

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WACHS chief operating officer Margaret Denton said her team was proud to lead a specialist transport co-ordination service.

“To date, we have urgently moved more than 280 people or products across regional WA, working with the challenges of clinical priorities, fluctuating equipment supplies, biosecurity restrictions and of course, the wellbeing of our patients and their loved ones,” she said.

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