The Budget will provide for 375 new emergency medical and paramedic roles over the next four years. Fifty-nine of those roles will be based in the Bay of Plenty and will ensure all road ambulance call-outs are double crewed by 2021.
“It'll help ensure patients are provided with the best care possible, as well as the support safety and well-being of our dedicated paramedic workforce” says Bay of Plenty MP, Todd Muller.
Double crewing has long been an issue for ambulance drivers who were more frequently coming under physical attack from people they were trying to care for. Now they'll have someone watching their back.
The Ambulance Association has reported assaults on paramedics had increased noticeably over the past few years with the violence largely down to patients abusing alcohol and drugs. They were even threatening to press charges against patients who turned on them.
But in its Budget 2017 the government has pledged $59.2 million over four years to make all road ambulance call-outs double crewed. ”National is focused on getting patients the care they need when they need it” says Todd Muller. “And our ambulance services have a key role to play in this.”
It will also improve operational efficiency. There will be 6000 fewer incidents each year requiring two ambulances to respond. As well as the budget allocation, an additional $82 million will be pumped into the service from ACC.
“This is the single biggest increase in investment that has gone into our emergency ambulance services and demonstrates the government's commitment to strengthening core infrastructure in New Zealand” says Todd.