St John calls for full-funding of ambulance services from Govt

The AM Show 06/04/2018

St John hopes an upcoming meeting with Health Minister David Clark leads to full-funding of the country's ambulance services.

Its operations are presently only about 70 percent funded by the Government, leaving them $70 million short each year. This year's appeal for donations begins this week.

"We're the only [country] in the first world that doesn't have a fully funded ambulance service," chief executive Peter Bradley told The AM Show.

Previous appeals and a Government funding boost last year allowed St John to double-crew all its ambulances - essential with assaults on staff on the rise.

Research last year also found more patients end up dead when ambulances only have a single crew member.

Before the boost, 40,000 callouts a year were attended by a paramedic working alone.

"We know [Health Minister] David Clark is a big supporter of St John, and we look forward to having a really good conversation with him next week," said Mr Bradley.

Of the $70 million annual shortfall, only about $20 million of that is recovered by charging patients.

Last year's funding boost didn't go all the way to fully funding the service because then-Prime Minister Bill English said St John and other services were "not asking for full funding".

"I think it's part of the ethos of the ambulance services," Mr English said in May. "They've got a volunteer aspect to them."

Paramedics are paid between $60,000 and $70,000 a year to deal with some "very dangerous" circumstances, according to Mr Bradley.

Watch the full interview with Peter Bradley above. 

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