25 Jun 2010

DHB urged not to scrap ambulance

7:42 am on 25 June 2010

Residents of South Wairarapa are urging the district health board not to scrap their volunteer ambulance service.

They say a plan not to renew St John's contract for part-time night cover will rip the guts out of a service they've built up over decades.

A protest of about 300 people was held in the town square recently.

Builder Malcolm Blown says volunteers are a life-blood in many small communities and people fear the St John chapter will disintegrate if the board does not allow it some kind of first response role.

But the DHB says people in South Wairarapa will be getting the same if not a better standard of care with improved response times and more paramedics.

South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples says she has no fears for the safety of local people under the new system

But she says the board needs to understand the community worked long and hard for its ambulance and volunteer service.

A delegation of Martinborough people plan to put their case at a meeting of the DHB on Tuesday.