Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister Dr David Clark have announced extra support for road ambulance services to help them plan for a secure long-term future so they can continue providing life-saving care to Kiwis.
“New Zealanders know we have high quality ambulance services in St John and Wellington Free Ambulance, but we can’t take them for granted,” Winston Peters says.
“There is a growing demand for ambulance services, including in rural areas. Ambulances now respond to over 550,000 emergency 111 calls a year, with more than 440,000 calls resulting in an ambulance being dispatched.
“All New Zealanders value the vital work that paramedics, clinicians and 111 emergency call handlers perform day in and day out to improve patient outcomes.
“Currently the Ministry of Health and ACC fund approximately 72 percent of the operating costs of ambulances. The remainder is funded largely through part charges and donations and the services will continue to rely on community generosity for these.
“We recognise the concerns raised by St John and Wellington Free about the suitability of that funding model.
“That’s why the Government is investing $21 million into our ambulance services over the next two years. This one-off funding will relieve immediate pressures and provide certainty while St John and Wellington Free work with the Ministry of Health, ACC and District Health Boards on the long-term sustainability of their services,” Winston Peters says.
Health Minister David Clark says the two-year package comes on top of a $17.2 million increase in operational funding (over four years) as part of Budget 2019.
“Increasingly paramedics and clinical staff are dealing with more complex conditions and decision-making while seeing and treating patients in their own homes and providing a critical link with other parts of the health system.
“We need to make sure that we’re resourcing these essential services appropriately for the important work they do.
“Our ambulance services deserve a secure and sustainable future. Today’s announcement gives us time to do the work to make sure that happens,” says David Clark.