Katherine finally had its much sought after new hospital, well out of the flood zone.
Unfortunately it is only a temporary hospital which was dropped into the Tindal RAAF Base as part of Exercise Pitch Black.
The temporary hospital landed in Tindal and was sent to Batchelor for an air base being built as part of the exercise.
Transporting and unpacking your hospital, all its equipment and setting it up in the red dust of remote locations in the Northern Territory is not something most healthcare professionals get to experience.
For the Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron it is part of the job that goes alongside providing their wide-ranging health services in the field.
Wing Commander Nicole Dos Santos, Commanding Officer No. 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron, said that the hospital can be moved into location in a number of ways.
“It is a totally air mobile health facility,” Wing Commander Dos Santos said.
“This is the first time we have moved the mature role 2 hospital by air. We had a total air insertion from Amberley to Tindal.”
The structure of a role 2 field hospital can be tailored to suit different environments.
Departments can be chosen depending on need and the layout designed to suit the available area.
Wing Commander Dos Santos said that one of the things that made the construction unique was the builders.
“One of the best things about this facility is that when you watched it being built it was doctors, nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists that built the hospital,” Wing Commander Dos Santos said.
“We value them for their specialist skills but equally we value that they are part of an integrated healthcare team.”
“We recognise the strength that teamwork brings to the facility.”
Wing Commander Dos Santos said that one of the firsts for deploying the hospital was the nature of the scenario at Exercise Pitch Black.
“This is the first time we have built the hospital in a semi-permissive environment,” Wing Commander Dos Santos said.
“Not only does the staff build the hospital, but they do it in body armour, with weapons.”
The role 2 hospital was set up to support the establishment of the austere airbase at Bachelor in the Northern territory during exercise Pitch Black.