RFDS provides GP training for farm situations

General practitioners from across Western NSW participated in a farm safety workshop by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
General practitioners from across Western NSW participated in a farm safety workshop by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Working in regional and remote communities across NSW, Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) (RFDSSE) medical staff know they have to be ready for anything they face.

Recently members of the RFDSSE team were able to pass some of their vast experience on to more than 40 general practitioner doctors from across Western NSW with a Farm Safety Workshop training event.

RFDSSE Medical Officer Dr Kiri Oates created a number of realistic simulations to get the doctors thinking about how to treat patients in unfamiliar surroundings with limited medical equipment at hand. To ensure the event was realistic, it was held on a working farm just outside Dubbo.

GPs from Dubbo, Broken Hill, Orange, Bathurst and across Western NSW took part in the day-long workshop which included a quad bike accident, a shooting, an auger incident, a goring by a bull and a poisoning.

Without access to full medical supplies, the doctors had to repurpose tarpaulins as stretchers, sticks as splints and be resourceful to treat patients and keep them comfortable.

"These are the kinds of emergencies that GPs could be called to handle until the RFDSSE arrives to assist, so we wanted the scenarios to help prepare them in case they find themselves in that situation," Dr Oates said.

RFDS doctors oversaw the scenarios and provided advice and guidance while other staff used their acting skills to play victims and bystanders.

This year was the third time the RFDSSE and GP Synergy have come together to host the workshop, with COVID stopping the event from going ahead for the last two years.

Feedback from doctors who participated in the workshop was overwhelmingly positive and everyone got actively involved in the scenarios.

Dr Vanessa Moran, the Director of Education and Training ACT & NSW for GP Synergy said it was important for doctors working in rural areas to understand the communities that they live and work in.

"The registrars come from a variety of backgrounds and some have never been on a farm before, so it allows them to better understand the farm injuries or health issues they may see, as well as appreciate some of the stresses farmers experience," Dr Moran said.

"The RFDS do a great job in running this event and the doctors get a lot out of it."

Have you or someone you know been helped by the Flying Doctor in the last five years? We are always looking for new stories to share with our wider community and would love to hear from you. To get in touch with please contact us via: galah@rfdsse.org.au