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Government Developing Plan To Improve Ambulance Services

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tony Ryall
Tony Ryall

Wellington, March 30 NZPA - The Government is "busy working on a plan" to improve rural ambulance services, Minister of Health Tony Ryall says.

Struggling ambulance services nationwide are set to benefit from a $10 million cash injection but the Government must first decide how best to spend the money, he said.

"The Government does have some money set aside in the budget for improving ambulance services and we've got an ambulance strategy that we've inherited from the previous government that we're busy working on," Mr Ryall told Radio New Zealand today.

"Once that's sorted out we may be in a position to do something on this front."

The strategy would look at all aspects of ambulance services, including funding, he said.

At present ambulance services such as St John were funded in part by the Ministry of Health, ACC and District Health Boards (DHBs).

Mr Ryall said it was important to get all funding mechanisms working together.

He would not say whether the strategy included a move away from contracts with individual DHBs to a single contract with the health ministry.

"I wouldn't want to speculate on where we come out on that -- our main focus is to try and improve the front line service."

"There's not an endless bucket of money out there any more but we would like to make sure that the resources that we have and this money that has been allocated is able to address some of issues," he said.

Those issues included access to services in rural areas, training, dwindling volunteer numbers and "double crewing" .

The strategy would be complete in the next couple of months, he said.

"There's no point in us running in with a whole lot of money if we're going to have a strategy and a plan that does something else so we're getting that sorted out, we'll be working with St John and communities to do it, we know it's a problem," he said.

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