Victoria Hawkins |

On New Year’s Eve between the hours of 10pm and 2am St John’s job rate will triple and a high percentage of those incidents will be related to alcohol.  New Year is traditionally one of the busiest times of year for the ambulance service nationwide and St John has been planning for 2014’s New Year celebrations for some months.

Last year in known festive hotspots like Auckland Central, Christchurch, Mt Maunganui, Queenstown and Gisborne incident numbers rose by as many as 38 in the crucial hours either side of midnight.

Most of the increased incident numbers during New Years could be attributed to alcohol with ‘unconscious/passing out’, ‘assaults’ (including sexual assault, fights and stabbings), ‘sick person’ and ‘falls’ forming the top four incident categories during this four-hour spike.

Last year St John’s operations planning and extra resources worked well to meet public need, reduce risk and ensure the safety of frontline staff as calls surged from an average 200 either side of midnight to more than 600 hundred.

This year’s planning and provisions have been modelled similarly with a National Ambulance Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in place until the peak workload has returned to acceptable levels.

St John will have 91 additional vehicles operating throughout the country and about 170 extra frontline staff (who are a mix of paid and volunteer ambulance officers) working on the night.

“Essentially work on New Year’s Eve and Day is predictable with a recognisable peak the two hours before and after midnight which allows us to plan and provision well. We work closely with other emergency services and maintain a national EOC which is a sizeable operation,” says Norma Lane, St John Director of Clinical Operations.

“We would remind people to celebrate and drink sensibly – pace yourself, eat food and keep hydrated with non-alcoholic drinks.  Look out for each other and don’t leave heavily intoxicated people on their own.” 

St John wishes the nation a safe and happy New Year.




St John is the largest primary healthcare provider in New Zealand. Our ambulance officers treat and transport more than 400,000 patients a year. St John has approximately 1,500 full time equivalent paid ambulance officers and more than 2,500 volunteer ambulance officers nationwide.



Victoria Hawkins

St John Media Relations Manager

T 09 526 0528 I X 7877 I M 021 605342


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