ROYAL Flying Doctor Service medico Stephen Langford has been awarded a WA Australian of the Year award.
Dr Langford was named WA’s Local Hero of the Year for “extraordinary efforts at a grassroots level”.
“Many people do extraordinary things, and I am very privileged to have been considered one of them,” he says.
The Applecross resident had planned to join the RFDS for ust one year, working out of Port Hedland, because of an interest in country practices, and a passion for planes. Thirty-two years later, he’s still dedicated to the service.
“I’ve spent a lot of time developing the services and technology available to the RFSD: in particular, altering our equipment to suit this work, to withstand the heat and dust of the outback, reduce interference, and be battery-operated,” he says.
“One example has been the ultrasound machines… we’ve gotten them down from being the size of a TV on a trolley, to being the size of a laptop, wireless and portable.”
He says the job’s changed plenty since he started on the frontline, but he remains passionate about what he does.
“We want the airplanes to be fitted out to provide the same level of care you would receive in a big hospital like Fiona Stanley,” he says.
Dr Langford hopes his award will raise the profile of the RFSD, which he says has been a “quiet achiever”. Aside from the emergency work of the RFSD, it also connects people living in remote areas to doctor’s advice via telephone, and regularly visits remote areas for mobile GP services. The RFSD is a private, non-for-profit organisation that operates free of charge to patients.
Mr Langford, along with “Local Heroes” from other states, will go in the running to be Australian Local Hero of the Year, to be awarded on Australia Day.
by JESSICA COCKERILL