COLLABORATIVE EFFORT: Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, second from left, was joined by Mildura Airport Finance and Administration Manager Trudy Scott, left, Mildura Rural City Council Mayor Mark Eckel, Mildura Airport Chairman, Peter O’Donnell, and Mildura Regional Airport CEO, Bill Burke, yesterday to officially announce details of the new Patient Transfer facility to be built at Mildura Airport.

By JOHN DOOLEY

A NEW patient transfer facility will be built at Mildura Airport at a cost of $300,000 to provide a more comfortable experience for patients and their families while they wait for transfer flights to metropolitan health services.

The new facility, which is being facilitated by surplus funds available due to the Airport runway extension project coming in under budget, will be used specifically for aerial medical services, and will also allow for safer, more efficient transfers of local and regional patients to city centres.

Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad was joined by Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) Mayor Mark Eckel and Mildura Regional Airport CEO, Bill Burke, yesterday to officially announce details of the new facility.

Mr Broad said he was thrilled to learn of the government’s approval of the project after working closely with the MRCC, Mr Burke, and airport employee Trudy Scott, who initiated the discussion with Mr Broad in Parliament last year.

“What a fantastic outcome for regional patients and for our regional city,” Mr Broad said. “The Patient Transfer Station, which will service on average three to four transfers a day, will make waiting times a much more comfortable experience for patients and families required to travel to the city for emergencies or specialist care – a great addition to our recent upgrades and really the final piece we have been hoping for.

“Bodies such as Air Ambulance Victoria and The Royal Flying Doctors Service are vital to regional communities like ours, and I have no doubt this facility will help save lives.”

The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will work with Council to enable the construction works and delivery of the project.

Mr Burke said it was extremely gratifying to be able to have the project come to fruition, saying he anticipates its completion by the end of May or possibly sooner.

“We have been incredibly economic in what we are doing at the Airport, and our builders are doing the job with very minimal profit margin almost as a community service,” he said.

“We are also relocating an existing hanger to service this new terminal and that has provided another cost efficiency.”

Cr Eckel said the initiative came from the Airport’s Manager of Finance and Administration, Trudy Scott, and he seized upon the idea and spoke with Mr Burke and Mr Broad.

“A letter was then sent to the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, Dr John McVeigh, who ticked off on the project,” he said.

“In this day and age we should be able to provide a facility that patients can be cool and comfortable and out of the dusty winds, and soon we will have that at our airport, and I commend Mr Burke and the airport management for making this possible.”