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Coroner must be heeded by Ambulance review

22nd February 2008

Coroner's findings must be heeded by Ambulance review

The Green Party welcomes the coroner's report and recommendation on the death of Melfyn Wynne-Williams, and agrees that there need to be national clinical standards for New Zealand's ambulance service.

"Ambulance officers responding to emergencies are frontline health professionals. It's extraordinary that there are no national clinical standards governing the provision of ambulance services in New Zealand," Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"This means that the clinical care New Zealanders receive varies according to where they live, and this is completely unacceptable.

"Ambulance officers are frontline health professionals, and it is time to question why such an essential emergency health service has been devolved to a number of charitable organizations which are reliant on the availability of volunteers, and are doing their best on limited funds.

"Ambulance officers are not regulated as a profession either and there is no national clinical governance committee. This must change.

Ms Kedgley has been campaigning since 2004 for a review of New Zealand's ambulance services, which is plagued by problems, from fragmentation, underfunding and single crewing which forces an officer to choose between attending a patient or driving them to hospital.

Ms Kedgley helped initiate an inquiry into the provision of ambulance services by Parliament's Heath Select Committee which will consider the coroner's report.


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