Gerard Campbell |

St John Ambulance is pleased to announce that it will add two additional ambulance officers to Murchison as part of its four-year project to end single crewed ambulances in New Zealand.

The announcement comes after a review of ambulance service delivery in the township which identified risks associated with the current model and is part of St John’s double crewing project.

After listening to feedback from St John staff, the Murchison community and stakeholders, St John will provide an emergency ambulance in Murchison 12 hours a day, seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm each day. Overnight, the ambulance will be crewed by volunteers who will first respond to incidents supported by PRIME practitioners when available.

The two new ambulance officers will join the two existing ambulance staff and the current nine volunteers in Murchison to ensure the ambulance is always double crewed.

A dedicated rural support officer will also be appointed to work alongside volunteers and the new ambulance officers to build confidence and provide additional resilience as we transition into this new service delivery model.

These changes have been made possible through Government funding announced in May 2017, to enable St John to implement a four-year plan to end single crewing of transporting ambulances.

St John was the only first world ambulance service with single crewed ambulance responses and ending single crewing is one of the most significant developments in the history of the ambulance service in New Zealand.

“This has been a genuine consultative process. We have engaged and listened to the feedback from our people, health and emergency stakeholders and the community and we believe this outcome will provide a safe and effective ambulance service in Murchison and the surrounding area,” says James McMeekin, St John District Operations Manager, Tasman.

Mr McMeekin said the decision also considered the geographic isolation of the township, the distance from the nearest alternate ambulance, and the risk of poor outcomes due to response delays, particularly in inclement weather.

St John is in the final phase of the double crewing project, meaning soon there will no longer be single crewed transporting ambulances in New Zealand – a significant milestone for the emergency ambulance service.






Gerard Campbell

Communications Advisor

M 027 567 2083



Notes to editors:


About St John


  • St John provides emergency ambulance services to 90% of New Zealanders and covers 97% of the country’s geographical area.   
  • St John received over 540,000 emergency calls into 111 Ambulance Communications centres and treated and/or transported over 460,000 patients in the last financial year (1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020).  
  • St John is made up of a mix of full-time, paid employees and volunteer staff. 
  • St John has contracts with Ministry of Health and ACC who fund approximately 78% of the operating costs for the ambulance service. The balance is made up from ambulance part charges, third-party contracts and  fundraising. 
  • Along with the emergency ambulance service, St John operates a significant number of community health programmes, social enterprises and other activities which help build community resilience.
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