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Hawke’s Bay MPs meet Health Ministry and St John

Hawke’s Bay MPs, Ministry of Health and St John meeting today to discuss local ambulance issues

A meeting between MPs Hon Rick Barker, Russell Fairbrother, representatives of the Ministry of Health, St John, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board and Waipukurau-based health service providers is being held today to discuss plans by St John to significantly reduce its ambulance service provision in Hawke’s Bay.

On 16 December 2002, the Ministry of Health was notified by St John of its intention to restructure services in its Central Region (incorporating Manawatu/Wanganui and Hawke’s Bay).

St John indicated it planned to remove administration to Auckland and cut eight ambulance officer positions in Hawke’s Bay.

While St John had previously raised concerns about a deficit situation in the Central Region, the organisation failed to discuss its intended services changes with the Ministry of Health before 16 December.

The proposed staffing cuts by St John provoked a significant public reaction in Hawke’s Bay, including a flood of corresspondence to local MPs Hon Rick Barker, Russell Fairbrother, Georgina Beyer (Wairarapa) and Janey Mackey (East Coast).

“Today’s meeting is crucial to progressing this issue and I am optimistic that an agreement can be reached between the Ministry of Health and St John to ensure that the current level of ambulance staffing and service is maintained to the advantage of the people of Hawke’s Bay,” Mr Barker said.

It was expected that the outcome of today’s meeting would be announced this afternoon.

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