ST JOHN HEALTH SHUTTLE SERVICE LAUNCHES IN PUKEKOHE

Beverley Tse |

Residents in Pukekohe who face challenges getting to their local doctor or medical appointments at the hospital can now access the St John Health Shuttle service for a koha or gold coin donation.

Launched today at the St John Pukekohe station, the Health Shuttle is available for anyone who needs transport to and from health-related appointments. And while a donation is appreciated, it is free for those who are unable to pay.

Peter Hoskin, St John Community Programmes Manager – Northern Region, says the need became apparent after a Community Based Needs assessment was conducted by the Pukekohe Area committee last year. “The assessment highlighted a number of issues faced by residents in Pukekohe and surrounding areas, with the lack of access to private and public transport being the biggest – this was either physically or financially. This is a consistent theme across the country and this is highlighted in almost all needs assessments,” says Hoskin.  

Grant funding from the Ted and Mollie Carr Endowment Trust, managed through Perpetual Guardian has made it possible for the service to be launched in Pukekohe. The Trust also awarded funding for St John to launch the service successfully in Mangere in 2017.

The St John Health Shuttle service was first launched in Hamilton in 1991 and is now operating in 35 locations nationwide. The service is one of the organisation’s key community health initiatives which respond to a universal need to access health care, especially for those who have problems relating to distance, mobility, family support and affordability. It contributes to many St John, community and government priorities including: health equity, positive ageing, quality of life, control over health and wellbeing and social connection.

“It’s having a significant social impact on the communities that depend on it. We are providing better access to health care, people are missing fewer health appointments and they’re gaining more social contact and connection. We are also seeing a reduction in stress, improvements to health and wellbeing and money saved. Our health shuttle volunteers also gain a lot of personal satisfaction; they enjoy meeting people and giving back to their community,” says Hoskin.

One such driver is Bob Davies, who began volunteering for the Mangere Health Shuttle service in 2017 and is now helping to run the Pukekohe service. “What I sense from the people we transport is that there is a real need for this service, so it’s really rewarding being able to help them. As a retiree, it gives me meaning knowing I’m doing something good,” says Davies.

Individuals who want to make a booking for the Pukekohe Health Shuttle, or volunteers who wish to sign up as a driver, can contact mariane.roxas@stjohn.org.nz or call 0800 WAKA ORA (0800 9252 672).

-ENDS-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Beverley Tse

St John Communications Advisor – Northern Region

M 027 318 1553

E beverley.tse@stjohn.org.nz

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