Hato Hone St John can confirm that due to increased cost associated with the running of the emergency ambulance service, we are implementing a range of initiatives designed to manage increasing cost over the remainder of the financial year. This involves reducing non-essential travel, postponing a range of planned activities that have yet to be launched, and delaying activity that will not make a tangible difference to the delivery of ambulance services in the short term.

Hato Hone St John’s emergency ambulance service workforce is the strongest it’s ever been. Over the past year we’ve made great strides in boosting the number of frontline staff by training almost 300 new ambulance officers locally while also recruiting experienced personnel from overseas and setting them up for success.

In a time of very low vacancy across much of our emergency ambulance service, we’re also looking at the best approach to filling short term roster gaps with available personnel. The number of more expensive overtime shifts being offered has grown recently, and this focus will ensure we are using our available resources effectively and efficiently. We have kept our frontline staff and unions informed with these developments.

We do not anticipate the cost savings to have a material impact on the quality of patient care, however, it is possible that some low acuity patients may have to wait longer for an ambulance. It is still our objective to respond to patients as soon as possible, with immediately life-threatening calls given the highest priority.

Like many other organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand, we constantly review our plans and budget to ensure we remain accountable to our funders, donors and customers while meeting our commitment to New Zealanders. We remain committed to delivering a safe and effective ambulance service and we are working to ensure we have enough resources to appropriately respond to any increase in demand. Critically, managing our cost base now during a period of (relatively) low demand means we will have the financial depth to deploy additional ambulance shifts during winter.

Hato Hone St John is in the middle of collective bargaining with the unions representing our ambulance staff. We are committed to constructive dialogue in good faith and hope to reach a settlement that suits all parties.

Please attribute to Dan Ohs, Hato Hone St John Deputy Chief Executive – Ambulance Operations

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