As an essential emergency service, St John is continuing to operate our emergency ambulance operations and Patient Transfer Services at all alert levels in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the move to Alert Level 2 we are resuming other St John services where it is safe to do so. Please see below the latest information to help you as this situation unfolds.

We are working very closely with the Ministry of Health and we recommend you follow their guidelines and advice about keeping yourself and others safe.  

Visit covid19.govt.nz to learn the simple steps you can take to unite against COVID-19 and slow its spread.

If you are feeling unwell, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice and information. This is a free, dedicated COVID-19 number that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

As part of our comprehensive pandemic plan we are prioritising:   

  • Protecting our people (so we can continue to be there for the public)
  • Making sure we can maintain delivery of critical services  
  • Continuing to provide services to the community to the best of our ability
    • First aid training in the classroom will resume at Alert Level 2 in selected venues, ensuring appropriate hygiene and physical distancing.
    • St John stores are preparing to re-open and will do so with changes to store layouts allowing for physical distancing.
    • St John Youth moved on-line during Alert Levels 3 and 4 and will continue to do so for the remainder of term two with a plan to resume face to face meetings in term three.
    • The St John Health Shuttle service will resume with a limited service, and safety measures will be in place.

St John's emergency ambulance service continues to operate as normal. Other St John services and personnel are following the Government's guidance and where possible are working from home. 

Our Customer Service Centre continues to operate, from 8.30am - 5.00pm Monday - Sunday, to support you with any general enquiries on St John products and services including Medical Alarms, First Aid training and ambulance account invoices.

On Monday 23 March, St John established a National Crisis Coordination Centre (NCCC). Traditionally, this centre ensures we can continue to operate our ambulance service in times of crisis, in coordination with other health and emergency service partners. 

Here’s how we are keeping our patients, customers, supporters and communities safe:

Is the St John emergency ambulance response affected?

We are here to step forward and help the country and, as an essential emergency service, St John is well positioned to respond to a pandemic like COVID-19.

St John has been receiving higher call volumes to our 111 Clinical Communication Centres since the announcement of the first COVID-19 case in New Zealand.

We will continue to provide emergency ambulance services throughout New Zealand. St John triages all 111 calls to determine the urgency of the patient's condition. We aim to send the most appropriate ambulance to the patient in greatest need as soon as possible.

St John ambulance officers frequently deal with infectious diseases and to protect our patients and our people, we follow best practice clinical guidelines, including wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when attending patients with suspected COVID-19.  

We will continue to ensure contaminated surfaces and equipment are cleaned or safely disposed of in biohazard bags and keep the ambulance environment as safe as possible for patients and staff.  

Please respect our ambulance officers and treat them with kindness should you not be permitted to travel in the ambulance with a loved one. Ambulance officers are caring, non-judgemental professionals but must follow best clinical standards in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19.

How is St John protecting family and friends of your frontline staff?

As the country continues to be lockdown, we’re learning more about what we’re dealing with and how to ensure we’re putting the best measures in place to protect our people, our patients and those around us.

It’s natural that the whanau who share a home with one of our frontline workers will have some concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19 in the line of duty. Some of our frontline will likely have similar concerns and want to reassure their family and friends about what we are doing to protect them.

Our Health, Safety and Wellbeing team has been focused on this and has produced a useful factsheet that can be shared with family, friends and others who may be part of the household. The information in this factsheet will help explain the steps we are taking to protect our frontline while they are working in the community.

Following our safety protocols carefully, coupled with good personal hygiene practices, means it is perfectly safe for our staff to return home after their shift – in fact home is the best place to be if not on duty.

Is there any impact on hospital Patient Transfer Services?

St John continues to operate its Patient Transfer Services. Our drivers are following Ministry of Health guidelines to keep patients and themselves safe. This includes increased hygiene and cleaning in our vehicles such as wiping of seats, door handles and steering wheel.

Is my St John First Aid course still running?

Our face-to-face first aid courses resume from Thursday 14 May at selected venues. We are working to all recommended hygiene protocols, ensuring appropriate physical distancing and contact tracing requirements are met, and delivering in a controlled training environment.

  • Class numbers on courses have been significantly reduced to ensure distancing at all times and will depend on the size of the rooms.
  • Hygiene and cleaning practices in the classroom have been increased.
  • You will not be required to breathe into the manikins.

If you feel at all unwell or have a cough on the day of the course please support our efforts to protect others and reschedule your course for another day (free of charge).

Online alternatives are still available, including the First Aid Refresher blended learning course and the St John Online First Aid course which can be upgraded to a Level 1 or Level 2 First Aid course by attending face to face assessment days.

Please note, as per our standard terms and conditions, there are no refunds for First Aid. 

Is my St John Medical Alarm affected?

Our St John Medical Alarms teams are well equipped to continue visiting clients with medical alarms. We have put several safety measures into place including:  

  • Equipment testing and troubleshooting will take place over the telephone rather than in person 

  • When visiting someone’s home to service/support equipment or install new equipment, we will maintain recommended physical distancing and undertake safe hygiene practices. Our staff will also ask appropriate questions to ensure any risks to clients and their families along with St John staff are managed. Our team members will check with you and provide any necessary instructions before arriving at or entering your property.  

  • Extra vigilance with clients who feel unwell and referring them to take appropriate action will continue, e.g. call Healthline, GP, family member etc.

  • We will continue to review all our practices and continue to keep you informed about any changes as they happen.

If you are a St John Medical Alarm customer, please remember to always wear your medical alarm pendant or wrist pendant at this time, so you can summon help if and when you need it.

What about St John services at Events?

Event bookings are being accepted on the basis that customers sign an assurance document acknowledging their obligations to adhere to the Ministry of Health Guidelines and are able to produce a COVID-19 Safety Plan prior to the event day. 

St John is continuing to provide event medical cover at events that are approved to operate within Alert Level 2 guidelines. 

Can I still use St John Health Shuttles?

The majority of our Health Shuttles will resume on Monday 18 May but will run on a limited service with some changes to ensure both staff and patients are safe. Please contact us to find out how your shuttle service is affected.

Is St John still delivering its Community Care services?

With the ever-evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to carefully monitor advice provided by the Ministry of Health and in line with this, our Community Care services will resume where it is safe to do so. We will work with our partner facilities on how best to do this. 

The impacted services are:

  • Friends of the Emergency Departments (FEDs)
  • Hospital Friends
  • Community Carers
  • Therapy Pets

Our Caring Caller service has continued to operate during the lockdown period.

Is the St John Youth programme still running?

Following lengthy consideration and discussion, and in keeping with the Ministry of Health advice on public events and mass gatherings, we made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 National Youth Festival due to be held in Wellington from 17 – 19 April. The decision was been taken lightly, and we recognise the impact this has made on all our squad members, managers, supporters and the wider St John Youth whanau. The move was to minimise the risk to our leaders, youth members and their families, from the threat of COVID-19.

In addition, we have cancelled all St John Youth activities and events. This includes all regional and district level camps, competitions, training and all division nights.

The National Youth Leadership Team is in discussion about how some of our badge work and programme training can be shifted online, and it is looking to implement nightly presentations on Facebook live and other platforms to keep our Youth and their families informed.

The team is also developing a plan to consider what events could be rescheduled later this year alongside events that could be cancelled altogether.

Will St John still hold its Heart of Gold Annual Appeal in April?

After extensive consideration, it was decided that we would postpone all Annual Appeal activities due to commence Sunday 29 March.

Of course fundraising remains vitally important to us, as does giving New Zealanders the opportunity to support the great work of our frontline. But given the unsettled time we are all facing individually, within our families, and our communities, we do not feel that this moment is the right time to continue with this. 

We are grateful for all the goodwill that our Annual Appeal attracts and appreciate your continued support.

Will first aid be taught in schools?

St John in Schools will continue virtual education, but tutors will be able to provide face-to-face teaching in the classroom if supported by the school.