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Fully crewed ambulances should be a priority

15 September 2008

Fully crewed ambulances should be a priority: Greens

The Green Party is profoundly disappointed that the Government has virtually ignored a recommendation from the Health Select Committee that steps be taken to ensure ambulances are properly crewed.

Today the Government released its ambulance strategy for consultation, and while most of the recommendations are sound there is a large hole in the failure to address the single-crewing issue, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"Ambulance officers have been raising concerns for many years that they are being sent out to emergency calls on their own, meaning they are forced to treat patients and drive the ambulance at the same time.

"This situation is needlessly endangering the lives of New Zealanders and should be addressed as a priority, as recommended by the Health Select Committee. The Government must phase in a mandatory rule for ambulances to be crewed by at least two officers when responding to emergency call outs, starting in urban and metropolitan areas, as new staff can be recruited," Ms Kedgley says

"We support the recommendations to extend the role of paramedics and to allow them to treat patients in their homes, but this alone will not address the crewing issue.

"The Greens also believe that it is also crucial for the service to have a national clinical standard and a national training programme.

"I urge New Zealanders to make their voices heard and tell the Government in no uncertain terms that fully crewed ambulances are a must."


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