Bush doc­tor tells all

Cockburn Gazette - - STREET WATCH -

FOR a third of a cen­tury, Stephen Lang­ford has worked hard to im­prove ac­cess to med­i­cal ser­vices in the bush.

Dr Lang­ford was named WA Lo­cal Hero ear­lier this year for 33 years of ser­vice with the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice (RFDS).

He will host a pub­lic fo­rum at the Univer­sity of WA with fel­low WA Aus­tralian of the Year Award re­cip­i­ents Anne Carey, Gra­ham Ed­wards and Cather­ine Hughes.

“We rely so much for our eco­nomic pros­per­ity on what hap­pens out in the coun­try,” he said.

“I’ve spent a third of a cen­tury try­ing to im­prove ac­cess to med­i­cal care for peo­ple, patic­u­larly emer­gency ser­vices. A lot of it in­volves deal­ing with long dis­tances and re­mote lo­ca­tions while bring­ing to those peo­ple the same level of care they might get if they were in the city.”

The RFDS med­i­cal ser­vices di­rec­tor helped cam­paign for the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s first jet, put in ser­vice in 2009.

“We were the first RFDS to put a jet in, bear­ing in mind

Ku­nunurra is fur­ther away than Ade­laide,” Dr Lang­ford said. “For crit­i­cally ill pa­tients, be­ing able to move large dis­tances fast is very im­por­tant.”

Dr Lang­ford also helped in­tro­duce new treat­ment to pre­vent pre­ma­ture birth, clot­bust­ing drugs for heart pa­tients and por­ta­ble ul­tra­sound to RFDS.

“One of the big­gest achieve­ments is we de­vel­oped a truly statewide aero-med­i­cal ser­vice; we cover a third of the Aus­tralian con­ti­nent with a sin­gle num­ber,” he said.

He pub­lished a book this year on his ex­pe­ri­ences called The Lead­ing Edge.

Pic­ture: Andrew Ritchie d46044

WA Lo­cal Hero of the Year Dr Stephen Lang­ford.

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