Topics: BUDGET, Health

St John ambulance service receive extra $59.2m in funding

By Aroha Treacher

St John ambulance officers will no longer be riding solo thanks to an extra $59.2mil that'll see its officers working in pairs. It'll also mean more than 400 extra ambulances on New Zealand roads.

St John has been wanting to remove single crewing for the last five years and this week that became a reality.

St Johns CEO, Peter Bradley says, "We will start rolling out the additional 430 ambulance staff starting from July but this is a four-year programme, so over the next year we would hope to recruit an extra, 100, 110 ambulance staff in different parts of New Zealand.

New Zealand was the only first world country that still used single crewing, but the government's budget announcement puts New Zealand on par with the rest of the world.

Bradley says, "At the moment where we have a single crew ambulance on route to hospital we don't have anyone in the back with the patients so it makes absolute sense from a patient care perspective to have someone in the back of the ambulance looking after them."

St John receives around 400,000 call outs a year, has 150 stations and services about 90% of the country.

Bradley says, "From a staff safety perspective and the whole issue around lifting manual handling when you've got two people it's much much easier to care for a patient and to be able to lift a patient and it's safer for our staff."

The new funding will also go towards providing home health checks and free health transport from the more rural areas to get people to clinics.