Picton to have two paid paramedics

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 09:10 22/08/2014
St John
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ
AMBULANCE RELIEF: A new paramedic will join St John Picton station manager Tony Cronin as the second paid Picton ambulance officer.

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Picton will get a second permanent paid St John ambulance paramedic after a funding boost.

Marlborough St John territory manager Murray Neal said St John had been bringing in relief cover from Blenheim to Picton since a review earlier this year revealed the town needed to be served by two paid paramedics.

The extra funding announced yesterday would allow a new permanent paid paramedic in Picton and mean less juggling of the 11 paid staff and six paid casual staff in Blenheim, Neal said.

Picton would be permanently covered by a paid paramedic 12 hours a day, seven days a week, instead of eight hours a day, five days a week.

''It's fantastic for Marlborough,'' Neal said.

''It's never easy to juggle rosters to make it fit. One person makes a huge difference to us.''

Applications for the paramedic position close on Sunday and a new person should be in the job next month, Neal said.

The job was for an ''intermediate life support paramedic'' - someone well qualified, experienced and self sufficient.

Applications had started to ''flow in'', but more were expected before the end of the week, Neal said.

''Marlborough is quite a sought after place to come,'' he said.

However, a new staff member did not mean there was less need for volunteers.

''Picton was identified as needing more staff, so we still have a requirement for more volunteers,'' he said.

''We still rely heavily on volunteers.

"They make up the majority of our workforce."

St John is to recruit 158 additional frontline ambulance staff in 35 places by July next year.

The increase is aimed to dhimprove service response times, reduce single crewing levels, and improve patient and staff safety.

The new operational positions are to be funded by St John, the Accident Compensation Corporationn (ACC), and the Ministry of Health.

BY THE NUMBERS

Paid ambulance officers:

Blenheim 12

Picton 2

Volunteers:

Blenheim 25

Picton 14

Casual staff 6

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- The Marlborough Express

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