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Green MP in P'ston N'th to support ambulance crews

5 September 2005

Green MP in Palmerston North to support ambulance crews

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is to renew calls for full crewing of ambulances at a rally in Palmerston North this morning.

Ms Kedgley is to meet 18 ambulance officers who are involved in negotiations over pay and conditions.

"The ambulance officers are calling for full crewing in all areas in New Zealand and we strongly support this, Ms Kedgley said.

"It is disgraceful that we are sending out front line ambulance staff on their own without proper support. This absurd and shortsighted policy is putting lives at risk and putting intolerable strains on ambulance officers. It is also breaching the national ambulance standard.

"Our ambulance services need to be given sufficient funding to ensure they can function effectively and safely with a full crew of two officers, one to drive and one to care for the patient. The government must provide proper funding and make ambulance officer standards mandatory," Ms Kedgley says.

"It is just unacceptable that we are seeing cases where family members are being asked to drive an ambulance while the officer is in the back resuscitating the patient.

"It is appalling that ambulance officers are being forced to choose between looking after a seriously injured person on the side of the road or driving them to hospital. And yet, ambulance officers working alone are regularly having to make this decision. This puts patients' lives at risk, and officers in a dangerous situation."

The New Zealand standard clearly states "all ambulance services providing an emergency response capability shall operate with a minimum of two crew. Each crew member must hold an Ambulance New Zealand recognised qualification."

This standard is still frequently not being met nine months after the Sustainable Funding Review for Ambulance Services, Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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