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Ministers welcome Air Ambulance Report


Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health
Hon Maryan Street
Minister for ACC

17th July 2008 Media Statement

Ministers welcome Air Ambulance Report

The Minister of Health David Cunliffe and the Minister for ACC Maryan Street are supporting a set of recommendations from the Air Ambulance Reference Group, but they say much more work is needed before any changes should be made.

The Group has released a report into air ambulance services in New Zealand, which includes proposals as to how services can be maintained and improved.

"The Ministry of Health and ACC have already started work in developing an overarching strategic direction for the ambulance sector. Many of the Reference Group's proposals will be considered as part of the development of a wider ambulance strategy," said David Cunliffe.

One of the main recommendations from the Reference Group is the development of a lead Crown Funder for air ambulance services, with the possibility of expanding into road ambulances and inter-hospital transfers.

"The Ministry of Health and ACC have already commissioned and considered independent advice on the formation of a single funder for all emergency ambulances. Again, this will need to be looked at in light of a wider strategy, which is expected to be released shortly."

Maryan Street says ACC officials have started work on implementing some of the report's recommendations.

"The review of the ambulance standard has been completed already - The Ambulance and Paramedical Services standard NZS8156:2008 was published in May 2008. A large amount of work is now needed to investigate the feasibility of the rest of the report's recommendations.”

To read the full report go to: http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/report-air-ambulance-reference-group


Background

The Air Ambulance Reference Group was formed in February 2006 to provide expert advice to the Minister for ACC and the Minister of Health on an appropriate framework for the development of Air Ambulance Services for New Zealand. Membership of Reference Group includes representatives from the Air and Health sectors, other Emergency Services, Local Government, Road Ambulance, Civil Aviation Authority, Corporate Sponsors and Ambulance New Zealand.

The Air Ambulance Reference Group:
- Supports a national strategic direction for the whole ambulance sector
- Makes no proposals about the location of bases or the range of uses for craft
- Supports a lead Crown funder
- Wants services funded on the basis of partial capacity and full activity funding for the agreed minimum service level
- Urges planning for a sustainable sector
- Supports quality standards
- Supports workforce development
- Supports further developing dispatch protocols
- Recommends a national advisory body
- Urges consultation with providers on service specifications before any tendering
- Recommends consultation with communities if current arrangements are to be disturbed

ENDS

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