WA’s Royal Flying Doctor Service has experienced a 24 per cent increase in patients airlifted from the South West last year as the organisation recorded its busiest year on record. The emergency service provider helped transport 558 patients from the region in 2023, up from 450 patients assisted in 2022. The most common reason for a patient to need help was heart issues or breathing problems, with cardiovascular complaints accounting for 23 per cent of the region’s transfers last year. Injuries and poisonings was the next biggest category at 21 per cent, followed by digestive problems at 13 per cent. The number of South West patients pales in comparison to the overall demand for the RFDS across WA, with 10,270 patients being transported in 2023. Ten new doctors will start training with the organisation this month to keep up with growing demand. They will initially be based at Jandakot airport before taking up positions around the State. Head of medical Rob Radici said the RFDS was thrilled to welcome the new doctors. “They will experience the challenges of providing advanced medical care in an out-of-hospital environment and have their skills put to the test,” he said. Dr Radici said the doctors would gain valuable understanding of the complexity of delivering health care in regional and remote regions of the State. “The experience and memories, whilst providing health care to the people of Western Australia, will remain with them for a lifetime and make them better doctors,” he said.