Royal Flying Doctor Service program

We have funded the Royal Flying Doctor Service program since the 1930s. It provides emergency aeromedical evacuation services, medical consultations and supplies, and dental and mental health outreach services to rural and remote Australia. This program is part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

About the initiative

The Stronger Rural Health Strategy provides partial funding to the Royal Flying Doctor Service  (RFDS) program so they can deliver essential health care to Australians living in the nation’s most remote areas.

Why it is important

The RFDS program means that patients in rural and remote areas, who could not otherwise access services, can benefit from medical, dental and mental health services.


The program aims to support people living, working and travelling in rural and remote areas of Australia. It provides access to essential primary health care services where there are few or no other services.

Services include:

  • primary aeromedical evacuations
  • primary health clinics, including general practitioner (GP), nursing and allied health services
  • remote consultations (via telephone or videoconference link)
  • medical chests (containing essential emergency medical supplies)
  • dental outreach services
  • mental health outreach services.

Meeting our goals

Since 2018, the Australian Government has provided $327 million over 4 years to the RFDS.  Part of that funding has come from the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

This increase supports ongoing aeromedical evacuations, the extension of dental services beyond March 2019, and the introduction of mental health services from 1 January 2019.

RFDS dental outreach program

The dental outreach program began in 2016. It is difficult for people living in rural and remote areas to access dental services, so this program seeks to fill this gap.

It delivers:

  • fly-in, fly-out, or drive-in, drive out dental services to rural and remote populations
  • services based on need and program priorities, working with relevant stakeholders and other service providers.

RFDS mental health outreach program

The mental health outreach program began in 2019. It provides professional mental health services to areas where there are currently few or no services.

The program delivers:

  • outreach mental health services, including putting more mental health professionals on the ground where telehealth technology is not available or is too costly
  • flexibly planned and conducted outreach mental health services based on need, working with local communities and other service providers.

Who we work with

We work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.


Royal Flying Doctor Service contact

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) works to provide emergency medical and primary health care services to anyone who lives, works or travels in rural and remote Australia. We have provided funding for its important work since the 1930s.
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