Your donation saves lives.
New Zealand’s flying intensive care unit.
The NZ flying doctors is an intensive care unit with highly trained medical staff and specialist equipment. Our patients receive a seamless level of care from bed to bed. We operate 24/7 transfer services for critical care burn victims, spinal injury patients, neonatal transfers, trauma victims, surgery transfers, and blood + equipment supplies.
The New Zealand Flying Doctor Service could not provide critical care patient services between hospitals without the generous support from our community.
NZ Flying Doctor Service
There are a total of 22 experienced flight nurses who currently work in the Christchurch Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) who are scheduled on a 24 hour roster as part of the Air ambulance Retrieval Team.
Name the new plane added to the fleet
Nelson’s health services will receive a boost with the launch of a $3 million air ambulance plane for the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service, based at Nelson Airport.
To the end of June 2023, the NZ flying Doctor service completed 1276 missions across NZ. Just over 50% of these missions were ex Nelson. This plane, the Beechcraft Super King Air B200 is the newest in NZs aeromedical fleet and offers a significant upgrade.
“This model of plane is ideal for aeromedical inter-hospital transfers and will be instrumental in getting patients in the Nelson / Marlborough area to the specialist or higher acuity care they need” explains base manager Ryan O’Rourke.
CEO of the NZFD Trust, Christine Prince states “we hope Nelsonians and top of the South Island locals will embrace this opportunity to name their plane. It will be permanently based in Nelson, on call to help the community when needed.” The lucky winner will be invited to the launch at Nelson Airport on 15 February. The ‘Name Nelson’s new Flying Doctor Plane’ is being run on the NZ Flying Doctor Service website (link) and people have until Friday 9 February to vote.
“With the service’s highly trained medical, nursing staff from Nelson Hospital and specialist equipment, patients can be transferred seamlessly to Christchurch or Wellington or further afield for advanced medical treatment.
Five specialist pilots are based in Nelson and the seven flight nurses are ICU staff from Nelson Hospital. The New Zealand Flying Doctor Trust contributes $2,500 to every mission – $3 million a year.
The Beechcraft Super King Air B200 can be equipped with two patient stretchers plus seating for up to four medical crew and patient support people, equipment and two pilots. The aircraft is a perfect fit as its performance and versatility allows the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service based in Nelson and Christchurch to operate efficiently around the country, including the remote Chatham Islands. It flies at 480km per hour and has a 1500 nautical mile range.
GCH Aviation, which operates the service, has a five-year plan to progressively upgrade its aircraft fleet making investment today to keep up with demand and introduce new technologies and plans to expand the fleet further.
Dr David Bowie, NZ Flying Doctor Trust Chairman, says this is a life-saving service, and the plane is set up as a flying intensive care unit. When time is of the essence and distance is an issue, the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service is the only option for many patients,”
Mark Sullivan has the service, and its sister ROA Mining Rescue helicopter service, to thank for saving him in Nelson last year, after a light plane crash in remote bush near Murchison left him clinging to life. The New Zealand Flying Doctor brought him back to Christchurch Hospital for the first of many surgeries. Eighteen months later, Mark is back at work as an Anglican Vicar in Christchurch. He now lives with eight pieces of titanium in his face and jaw and new front teeth, but shows only one small scar on his chin to tell the story. <read more about Mark’s story>
“At the time I didn’t appreciate how close I came to not surviving. No other organisation has had such a profound impact in my life and I feel that our part of the world is well served with such a professional and dedicated band of men and women. The air rescue and NZ Flying Doctor teams saved my life and I want to say a massive thanks,” Sullivan says.
The Garden Party
The inaugural Garden Party was held in November, raising a stunning $150,000.
A huge thank you to Stephen and Lisa Parkinson, our hosts for the evening, along with Cilla Glasson and Charlotte Smith-Smulders who were instrumental in organising such an amazing event.
Everyone who attended had a fabulous evening, chatting & dancing all in aid of such a worthy cause.
With outstanding raffle and balloon prizes, out-of-this-world entertainment and the most divine food and drinks, the evening truly was one of a kind.
We would also like to thank our sponsors for the event
Platinum Sponsors: RD Petroleum, Canterbury Orthopaedic Services, St Georges Hospital
Gold Sponsors: Johnson & Johnson Medtech, SBS Bank
You can view a short video of the event on Facebook.
This type of event couldn’t be achieved without the support and collaboration of an amazing event company and we are always thrilled to work with Collective Concepts and Silk Estate Marquee Events & Weddings, we always know the result will be just fantastic.
Verve Real Food Catering provided the sumptuous food throughout the evening along with Two Thumb Brewing Co. and Scapegrace New Zealand Distilling Co. who supplied the drinks.
David Cartwright running the Marathon des Sables
Read more about David Cartwright’s bid to run the Marathon Des Sables in aide of the NZ Flying Doctor. David is a trustee of the NZ Flying Doctor Trust and we are incredibly proud of him attempting this incredible feat.
Becka was 27 weeks pregnant when she started to feel unwell; at Greymouth Hospital she was diagnosed with swine flu. Becka was put in an induced coma prior to taking her to Christchurch Hospital, where she spent the next week.
The Byrne Family
After a medical incident at the wheel, the Byrne family narrowly avoided two head-on collisions and their car left the road at 127kms and then rolled six times across a paddock. By some miracle they were alive, and their fate was now in the hands of the Rescue Helicopter Service and New Zealand Flying Doctors.
At 10 days old, little Beauden was rushed to Southland Hospital as he was vomiting bilious fluid and not thriving. Within 24 hours he had deteriorated even further to a critical point, and he needed to get to Christchurch Hospital as soon as possible. The New Zealand Flying Doctor plane was sent, and he arrived by 9pm to be rushed in for life saving bowel surgery. His final diagnosis was Malrotation and Volvulous, an abnormality of the bowel where the blood supply had been cut off.
After her lung spontaneously collapsed for the third time, Virginia needed treatment at Christchurch Hospital but couldn’t fly commercially because of her diagnosis. The New Zealand Flying Doctor Service was able to ensure that she was safe during her flight and got her operation.
Felix’s First Flight
When Mum, Zowie, got a tummy ache at 29 weeks pregnant she certainly didn’t think that she’d be meeting her baby so soon. But, with no space in Christchurch Hospital a trip to Wellington was an unexpected journey for them first.
In addition to all the flight details the pilots pay mind to, they ensure patients are safe and comfortable. This might mean an extra-soft landing for a patient with a spinal injury or maintaining stable air pressure for someone with a brain injury.
Specialist doctors can be drawn from the Christchurch Hospital ICU Department to provide timely emergency care as required.
Intensive Care Flight Nurse
The flight nurses and doctors from Te Whatu Ora require specialist aero-medical training – to be a member of this team requires significant skill and experience. They ensure patients receive the highest level of care from bed to bed.