Bush Doctors

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia provides "services to improve the health of people living in the bush."  On our honeymoon in 2003, our train journey across Australia included a stop at Broken Hill, NSW, where we visited the Broken Hill Flying Doctors Base.  My wife, V., watched The Flying Doctors TV series back in the UK when she was younger, so she was quite excited about seeing an actual base where specially-equipped planes departed several times a day to fly to remote places in the Australian outback to conduct clinics and provide emergency health services.  At the souvenir shop she bought a rain slicker with the Royal Flying Doctors logo, but, ironically, we have yet to find that jacket since moving to Oz.

Anyway, as you might know, V. is a child psychiatrist working in one of the Brisbane hospitals.  She was recently asked to provide occasional video consultation services to mental health workers out in the Queensland bush. One of her first consults was with a clinician in a remote town in Queensland (over a 10-hour drive from Brisbane), whose patient had to travel 100 miles across the bush to go to the nearest town for services. Because there are just a handful of psychiatrists available to serve a region about the size of Alaska, these videoconferences are vital for the delivery of mental health services. We're not sure whether the Royal Flying Doctors ever fly psychiatrists out to the bush, but I'm pretty sure V. would volunteer to do it without hesitation, if the opportunity arises.