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Pfizer Backs Unique Flying Doctor Service

Published: Mon 2 Dec 2002 05:29 PM
Pfizer Backs Unique Flying Doctor Service
A unique service that takes a flying medical clinic to some of New Zealand's most remote locations has won the backing of the world's leading research-based medicines company, Pfizer.
The Not so Royal Bulls Flying Doctor Service is the brainchild of Bulls GP Dr Dave Baldwin who established it in 1999.
At 4am every Tuesday, Dr Baldwin flies his faithful little Cessna out of Bulls to a range of pre-arranged locations in the South Island where he provides Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) medical examinations to pilots who need to be certified fit to remain in the air.
The service is believed to be a world "first" and can involve up to six examinations at each airstrip.
Pfizer has signed on to be a major sponsor of the service for 2002-03 and will have its company logo painted on the tail.
Dr Baldwin is a former RNZAF Base Medical Officer with a passion for aviation medicine and anything to do with aviation. His practice is located next to Ohakea air base (where he served) and is easily recognised with the presence of a huge wooden bull outside the surgery in the main street of Bulls.
The idea of providing pilot medicals at remote locations has always been a dream so to combine his love of aviation, the mountains and medicine. It all developed initially with the Saxtons at Haast where he spends two weeks every year hunting during the roaring season with his son Marc and mother Olive.
"I've developed a number of small surgeries and remote airstrips at places. Initially at Haast and then Motueka, Hokitika, Fox Glacier, Haast, Te Anau and Mt Cook," Dr Baldwin said.
"The advantages to pilots include not having to take a day off and being able to take their medical in a convenient location.
"The advantages to me are that I've become directly involved in aviation medicine, do lots of mountain flying in the best scenery in the world and meet plenty of interesting people."
Dr Baldwin's Cessna has been modified to accommodate the specialised medical gear and has lots of safety features such as an HF radio to allow safe flying over the alps . It has good short take-off and landing capabilities to deal with remote airstrips and IFR equipment for flying in marginal weather.
Pfizer's General Manager in NZ, Mark Crotty, said the company was committed to supporting communities and initiatives like Dr Baldwin's.
"His passion and expertise combined brings this medical service to those who can use it in isolated rural regions," he said.
Pfizer is the world's leading research-based health care company. It discovers, develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical treatments for both humans and animals.
Ranked by Fortune magazine as the world's most admired pharmaceutical company, Pfizer will this year invest around $US5 billion in global research and development. For more information visit www.pfizer.co.nz
The Bulls Flying Doctor Service has a website at http://www.flyingdoctor.co.nz/
Source: Pfizer

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