AUSSIES: Flying Doctor(s)

This unique Aussie answer to the medical problems of isolated areas is one of Australia's most proudly held public services. It is largely funded by voluntary contributions from the public, and support is as strong in the cities as it is in the country areas.

This is a crucial service to the inland stations, mining towns, aboriginal communities, weather stations and all the other places people are crazy enough to choose.

The less visible side of the service is the radio network which has been created to enable it to operate.

Aussies in remote areas use the radio system for schooling (School of the Air), neighbourly gossip and business, district weather warnings and all the other things that those with telephones and ready transport take for granted. In these parts even the community nurses and child care nurses are shuttled around on the Flying Doctor Service's regular flights.

Landing on some of the strips can be a bit different from landing at Heathrow or JFK. First you 'buzz' the homestead so they know you have arrived, then you head for the strip which could be five miles away. Next you buzz the strip to clear the livestock off. Then comes the tricky bit of actually landing.

Movies don't highlight the twenty minutes the medicos sit in the oppressive heat amidst dust and flies, wondering if anyone is on the way out to the strip to pick them up.

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