Pressure on ambulance service in Blenheim as it outgrows station

Staff at St John Marlborough are short on space at their Blenheim station.
RICKY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Staff at St John Marlborough are short on space at their Blenheim station.

A new ambulance station is needed in Blenheim following a rise in demand for crucial services.

St John crews across Marlborough responded to 5066 incidents between May 1 last year and April 30 this year, about 400 calls a month.

Combined with pressure to provide a range of other services, staff are appealing to the Marlborough District Council to lease them a bigger building long-term.

A possible solution includes taking up the lease of the former Farmlands and CRT site on the corner of Kinross and Redwood St near the town centre.

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It was hoped the new premises would also offer more space for crews to respond in an emergency situation.

The St John Marlborough station on Seymour St, in Blenheim.
RICKY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

The St John Marlborough station on Seymour St, in Blenheim.

In a written submission to the council, St John executive officer Anne Parker said their Seymour St base was "no longer adequate" to meet the organisation's needs.

"St John Marlborough has a long and valued history in the community, providing emergency ambulance services 24 hours a day, seven days a week with 14 paid and 65 volunteer staff locally."

St John services also included the health shuttle, first aid courses, first aid kit supplies and replenishment, medical alarms and youth and community programmes.

"St John Marlborough is now looking for a new site suitable, particularly for ambulance access and departures, to relocate to which will provide a base for all services for the long term."

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In her written submission, which is being considered by council as part of its annual plan for 2017/18, Anne said staff had examined other sites which could be more suitable for the already stretched service.

"As part of the initial search for a new location, St John has identified that the land previously used for the netball courts and the adjacent car parking, would be suitable."

St John South Island regional general manager David Thomas said submissions to the council from the organisation were usually kept private.

The organisation was continually evaluating site options but it was something that was normally done in confidence, especially when providing submissions to council, as it could impact on economic values.

"It is unfortunate that this submission was filed before a complete review of the document was made and more detailed analysis undertaken.

"St John has an interest in several possible sites in Blenheim and this information is commercially sensitive," he said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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