5 Jun 2009

More paramedics needed, say ambulance services

3:10 pm on 5 June 2009

The Ambulance Association says 100 extra paramedics to be provided as part of multi-million dollar Government spending on the service will not solve the industry's biggest problem, of single-crewing on ambulances.

The Government on Thursday confirmed funding of $48 million over the next four years, which was budgeted for by the previous Labour-led government.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the provision of 100 extra paramedics will cost $28 million. The extra paramedics will help boost the number of double crewed ambulances.

Ambulance Association president Jim Bilby says about 70% of ambulances in the central North Island are single-crewed and while 100 additional paramedics will help, it will not be enough.

St John Ambulance chief executive Jaimes Wood says the increase will be a useful lift in resources, however another 600 paramedics are needed.

Mr Ryall says the package also provides $500,000 a year for more training for rural volunteers.

He says there will also be an additional $1 million each year towards the air ambulance sector.