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Mount Isa rescue helicopter service continues thanks to CareFlight merger

The communities of Mt Isa and surrounding regions will continue to have access to air medical rescue services provided by a helicopter, thanks to a planned merger of the local NQ Rescue and CareFlight Group Queensland.

CareFlight Group Chairman The Hon. Rob Borbidge AO said the merger had the full support of both parties and would become official with the new financial year.

“I am pleased to announce that RACQ NQ Rescue and RACQ CareFlight will move forward together under the one banner of CareFlight Group Queensland from 1 July 2015,” Mr Borbidge said.

“This merger means the community of North Queensland can be assured critical care air medical services will continue to be provided by a rotary wing aircraft based in Mt Isa.

“However like all of our community services, we will only be as strong as the support we receive from the communities in this region, ” he said.

RACQ NQ Rescue CEO Alex Dorr said the merger was a win for the community.

“The merger with CareFlight has secured an emergency rescue helicopter for the region,” Mr Dorr said.

“I’m very excited that what was started back in 2007 can move forward with the opportunity for further enhancement of services in the years to come.”

Mount Isa Mayor, Tony McGrady has also voiced his support of the merger and how this will benefit the local community.

“The future of the NQ Rescue helicopter has been in question for some time now, so to have such a positive outcome eventuate is something to be celebrated,” said Cr McGrady.

“The people of the North West are all behind Alex and his team, they understand the need and appreciate the dedication that goes into keeping this service in the air.

“I look forward to seeing the many benefits of this partnership and the advancement of emergency care services across the region,” he said.

Having been the naming rights sponsor of NQ Rescue since its inception, RACQ will stay on as the major supporter of the service.

“As proud supporters of CareFlight for 21 years, we are very pleased to see RACQ’s assistance to stranded and injured motorists increased so substantially by this merger,” said RACQ Executive General Manager Advocacy Paul Turner.

“It means RACQ’s community rescue helicopter service for the area will have much better capability and reach into remote and rough terrain, helping them save Queensland lives,” Mr Turner said.

Mr Borbidge said RACQ CareFlight Rescue has spent time with other Emergency Service and medical care providers to explore opportunities for enhancing services through sharing of resources and improved processes.

“We have had very positive discussions with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Fire Service, Queensland Police Service and Queensland Health and it is our aim that we can all work together in the most effective manner to provide the best possible outcomes for our patients,” he said.

The Mt Isa base will be an addition to the five bases operated by RACQ CareFlight Rescue in Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, with the Brisbane base also commencing on July 1.

CareFlight is an iconic not-for-profit organisation that has provided air medical services to regional and metropolitan Queensland communities for more than three decades.

 “Over the 2015-2016 financial year, RACQ CareFlight Rescue will cost more than $23 million dollars to operate,” Mr Borbidge said.

“With Government funding accounting for 65% of this cost, we still rely on the generosity of our sponsors and the community to help keep us in the air.

“Public donations are vital to ensuring CareFlight can continue its lifesaving work.”

In 2014, RACQ CareFlight Rescue flew more than 1,300 lifesaving missions.

To donate to RACQ CareFlight Rescue, visit www.careflight.org.au/donate.