August 26 2010: This post came about due to a number of enquiries I received from students and researchers enquiring about remote medical chest contents. I was only too happy to write on this topic. Many of the downloads were to university URLs.
However RFDS WA management have asked me to remove the medical chest contents list from this post. Several reasons were given. I do not agree with the reasoning but I have agreed to remove the list in good faith.
Other large organisations specialising in remote health such as Northern Territory Health and Kimberley Aboriginal Medical services do place their remote emergency lists in the public domain.
—————Post dated 16th Sept 2009 begins ——————————
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is a bit of an icon in Australia. It was started in 1928 by the Reverend John Flynn and became a national body in the 1930’s to provide a mantle of safety over the remote parts of Australia. It is now the “largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisation in the world” (you can read the history of the RFDS here)
One of the services it provides to remote communities, cattle stations and other remote workers is the provision of a medical chest.
In Western Australia alone there are over 400 of these medical chests. The RFDS has a special poisons licence to use these chests. The RFDS in turn has has each medical chest registered to a nominated “chest holder”. With the high turnover in staff in remote communities and cattle stations it can be quite difficult in ensuring accountability.
The contents of this Medical Chest are for use at a designated location for a specific project or business undertaking.
The chest has a number of trays (A, B, C etc.) and contains a large number of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical items to assist with the treatment of patients in emergency and non-emergency telephone consultations for those living and working in remote areas.
Each item is numbered and stored in a nominated tray. In the lid of each chest is a large card with each item, the number and the tray it is to be stored in. The contents of the chest have been standardised across Australia since the 1940’s. An RFDS doctor
could then request “I want you to get Item 120 off tray A. It should read Frusemide amps 20mg”
When items are re-ordered they arrive “pre-stickered” with the identifying number already on the item.
This medical chest is a little out of date as the contents have recently been revised and a new blue stock card issued.
A list of the current items stocked in the medical chest is available here:
RFDS Medical Chest Contents List has been deleted due to supposed “sensitivity” of the items.
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