Applecross resident reaching for the skies with Royal Flying Doctors

Stephen |Langford.Picture: Marie Nirme           d446343
Stephen |Langford.Picture: Marie Nirme         d446343

AN Applecross resident, named Western Australia’s Local Hero for 2016, says he wants to use the award to highlight the important role played by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Stephen Langford received the award for his work during a 32-year career with the organisation, where is now director of medical services.

Since joining the Jandakot-based service in 1983, Dr Langford has worked to introduce a range of innovations and transformed how emergency medical teams respond to remote incidents.

“When I joined the RFDS, the organisation was smaller, with very committed staff but fragmented operations and primarily a focus on aviation,” he said.

“We now have a vertically integrated, single statewide service providing a very high standard of routine GP and emergency medical care from five bases across WA.”

Despite considerable improvements in the service, Dr Langford said there was still plenty to do.

He has recently started overseeing two university-level courses in aeromedical retrieval for RFDS doctors and flight nurses, and says improvements to clinical co-ordination processes and critical care monitoring are needed.

“My goal is for us to provide hospital care in the air, equivalent to that in a Perth emergency department,” he said.

“As a not-for-profit charity, we always struggle to find funding from governments and donors to achieve our goals for patients in WA.”

RFDS chief executive Grahame Marshall said Dr Langford had made a tremendous contribution, particularly in remote indigenous communities.

WA award recipients will join winners from other states and territories as finalists in the national awards, to be announced on January 25.