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New Zealand’s emergency ambulances must be double crewed

New Zealand’s emergency ambulances must be double crewed

Paramedics Australasia New Zealand – the professional body representing paramedics in New Zealand – echoes calls from St John Chief Executive Peter Bradley for double crewing of emergency ambulances.

In a letter to government officials obtained by the Weekend Herald Mr. Bradley said “... from 2018/2019 we will no longer send an ambulance out with only one person on it. In my view, it is not an ambulance when it is single-crewed, and therefore unsafe”.

Paramedics Australasia (NZ) Chair Sean Thompson says “the double-crewing of emergency ambulances is a vitally important issue. Patients requiring emergency assistance in many – mostly rural – areas are attended and transported by a single crewed paramedic while those in other regions are consistently double-crewed. This kind of regional disparity must be eliminated” says Mr. Thompson. “All New Zealanders need to be assured of the same high standard of care in an emergency. Only when an ambulance is double crewed with qualified paramedics can a patient receive effective emergency medical care en route to hospital.”

“Single crewing is also a safety issue for our staff” said Mr. Thompson. “Two paramedics working together can support each other in unpredictable and sometimes dangerous situations. They can also discuss critical medical decisions with each other. Safe medication administration and close monitoring of patients can be a real challenge, especially for paramedics working alone.”

“This ultimately is an issue of funding” says Mr. Thompson. “Paramedics Australasia supports full funding and double crewing of New Zealand’s emergency ambulance services.”

“It seems ludicrous that an emergency medical service is operated as a charity, receiving only part funding from central government. We would not expect this of our emergency departments, police or fire service, yet it is how ambulance services are currently operated.”


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