Whether its 50km or 500km, getting to and from a major hospital for rural and remote patients requiring specialist care can often feel quite overwhelming.
Continuing a 32-year tradition of providing patient care and transport, CareFlight introduced its Patient Transport Service to help alleviate distance challenges faced by rural and regional patients across NSW.
The three most common reasons for transport being cardiac, neurology and oncology.
On average 23 patients are transported per week using the service.
Coordinated by NSW Health and CareFlight's HelpPoint, CareFlight's CEO, Mick Frewen said the service has enabled CareFlight to extend its reach and help even more patients across NSW.
"The introduction of this service gives patients from regional areas access to the very best level of health care to meet their needs, while ensuring they are transported with the highest standards of patient care and safety," Mr Frewen said.
"It has been wonderful to see the service delivering on this in the air and on the ground for the past 12 months."
With five bases in major regional centres, including Newcastle, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Tamworth, the transport service has delivered and picked up patients from 68 different hospitals in the past year.
Operating a fleet of specially equipped King Air B200 twin engine turbo-prop aeroplanes and patient transport vehicles, the service is staffed by a specialist CareFlight flight nurse, pilot and drivers to ensure patients are cared for every step of the way.
The greatest number of patients transferred in one shift was nine. This occurring on both September 13 and 14 2018.
CareFlight's Patient Transport Nurse Manager, Natalie Lund said the patient's wellbeing and safety are always at the forefront.
"Our patient transport nurses, drivers and pilots undertake regular training to ensure the highest level of care is given to each patient using the service," Ms Lund said.
"With the number of geographical locations we cover, the different modes of transport used, as well as the patients' varying level of care, the ongoing training means the patient transport team are prepared for any situation they may face."
Celebrating one year since its launch, Mr Frewen said the Patient Transport Service will continue to deliver a high standard of patient-centric support.
"I'm looking forward to seeing this service grow in the future as CareFlight continues its mission so save lives, speed recovery and serve the community," he said.