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Major review of air ambulance services

11 August 2004

Media Release

Public consultation on major review of air ambulance services

The Accident Compensation Corporation has released a discussion document for public consultation on a major review of New Zealand’s air ambulance services, on behalf of an interagency steering group.

ACC is developing a new strategy, known as the National Air Ambulance Strategy (NAAS), in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Ambulance New Zealand, together with the Air Rescue/Air Ambulance Division of the Aviation Industry Association.

The discussion document entitled Current State Assessment of Air Ambulance Services in New Zealand, is the first stage in the development of the new strategy on the future location and resourcing of air ambulances.

ACC Healthwise General Manager Dr David Rankin says this is the first time since 1996 that air ambulance services have been reviewed.

“The point of the review is to ensure that in the future we will have the most efficient and effective network possible of fixed wing and rotary air ambulances serving the needs of patients throughout New Zealand,” Dr Rankin says.

“To maximise its effectiveness, our air ambulance network needs to be integrated with—and to complement—land-based emergency care services and inter-hospital transfers.”

The discussion document encourages public feedback on a wide range of issues, for example: The rapid growth of air ambulance services over the past decade The sizeable role air ambulances have transferring patients from one hospital to another The high number of air ambulances operating in New Zealand, relative to other jurisdictions when geographical areas and/or populations are compared The variety of funding sources, particularly of individual communities, sponsorship and the Crown through the Ministry of Health, DHBs and ACC.

“DHBs are waiting with interest to see the results of the National Air Ambulance Strategy and will then consider the implications of any recommendations on their organisations,” Dr Rankin says.

“There has been a dramatic growth in inter-hospital transfers by air ambulance during the past 10 years which challenges all New Zealanders to consider the best role of air ambulances in the future delivery of health services.”

Public feedback to ACC on the issues raised in the discussion document will close on 10 September 2004.

Feedback should be provided to: Stuart Francis, Project Manager National Air Ambulance Strategy C/- ACC Healthwise PO Box 242 Wellington or by email using the “feedback document” (at ) to:

Hard copies have sent to DHBs and other key health and local government groups, and can be obtained from the Healthwise division at ACC’s Corporate Office in Wellington through an email request to

The discussion document is also posted on ACC’s public website at


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