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Public Safety At Risk

18 August 2005

Public Safety At Risk

Media statement from Karl Andersen, general Secretary Federation of Ambulance Officer Unions of New Zealand (FAOUNZ)

The recent example of an ambulance being despatched single crewed to attend an infant who had stopped breathing, highlights the question of crewing of emergency ambulances.

FAOUNZ has consistently called for double crewing of all emergency ambulances. Ambulance Officers are regularly required to attend incidents single crewed, therefore putting the public and themselves at risk. The matter of who drives the ambulance is not always the major issue - there are many occasions when the treatment required necessitates two trained crew.

In the Huntly incident "good fortune" decided the infants outcome. What would the situation have been had the family member not been able to drive for whatever reason? To compare an ambulance with a campervan as the St John Ambulance spokesperson did escapes the reality of the situation - single crewing is unacceptable and unsafe.

Ambulance providers should be mandated to comply with the Ambulance Service Sector Standard (NZS 8156:2002) that provides for all emergency ambulances to be double crewed.


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