Amy Milne |

As Cyclone Gabrielle unleashes its full force on the North Island causing a National State of Emergency to be declared, Hato Hone St John is continuing to step forward to be there for whānau and our communities.

Dan Ohs, Hato Hone St John Deputy Chief Executive, Emergency Ambulance Service says people impacted by the adverse weather should continue to call 111 in an emergency.

Mr Ohs says that while the ambulance workload has been complex and steady over the last 48 hours, there have been no compromised response times but their workload is expected to increase once the cyclone has passed.

“If we are unable to get to people due to the adverse weather impacting our response, paramedics in our communications centres will provide clinical advice and support for patients until physical contact can be safely established.

“To ensure we can respond to urgent calls, we ask that people call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for non-urgent help or advice.”

Meanwhile, Mr Ohs says the ambulance service continues to work closely with partner agencies to navigate the challenges with power outages, road access and telecommunications, particularly in the Hawke's Bay, East Cape/Tairāwhiti.

“We would like to give a big shout out to thank our crews, volunteers and the communities for their ongoing support, as well as a special thanks to our colleagues at Wellington Free Ambulance who are supporting us in our communications centres and in Coromandel, Whitianga and the East Cape.

“We will continue to implement a range of contingencies to maintain our ability to operate."

Mr Ohs says initiatives such as our Whakarongarau telehealth pilot is running 24/7 until Friday 8am, in effort to reduce 111 demand and help with non-transport pathway for patients.

“We are also focused on recovering infrastructure including repairing fleet, property and technology sites damaged by extreme weather.

“More broadly, we are assessing how we will manage an expected significant disruption to related community health programmes and services, but we won’t get a sense of the scope of this for a few days.”


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