Better care thanks to trust donation

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 13:33 20/02/2013
Kaikoura St John
Emma Dangerfield
State of the art: Tukete Charitable Trust member Teri Sonal tries out St John Kaikoura's new stretcher. Also pictured are ambulance officers Ann Sutherland and Tracy McCowan

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A new stretcher and extra ambulance officer hours have been donated to St John Kaikoura by the Tukete Charitable Trust, formerly the Kaikoura Charitable Trust.

St John Kaikoura team manager Don Wright said the Stryker stretcher would be of great help to the team.

It had been on his wishlist for some time as it would enable better patient care, as well as minimise injuries to St John staff who would have less lifting to do.

The majority of Canterbury ambulances use the same stretcher and bringing the Kaikoura equipment in line with the rest of Canterbury will mean that transfers to ambulance will be a much smoother operation.

Instead of having to take a patient off a stretcher and put them on another, medical staff will be able to simply interchange the stryker stretcher with the patient still on it.

This will also apply to the rescue helicopter from Christchurch which is used for rescues in the Kaikoura area.

St John Kaikoura has two newer vehicles in their fleet now, said Mr Wright, and both of these can take the new stryker stretcher.

As well as the generous donation of the stretcher, which has many more options for patient comfort and safety than the older style stretchers, the Tukete Trust has also provided funding for 16 hours a week paid ambulance staff.

This equates to two shifts a week which they have funded for a year, and will be day or night shifts, depending on the need at the time.

Intensive care paramedic Tracy McCowan and paramedic Ann Sutherland will share the 16 hours between them.

Tracy spends much of her time working in Christchurch and Ann is the volunteer team manager at the Cheviot St John branch.

District operations manager Pete Cain said the organisation was extremely grateful for this funding as it was very rare that such opportunities arose.

Donations were more likely to come in for tangible objects, such as equipment which could be seen, rather than for staff wages, however this was just as vital if the organisation was going to continue to provide effective round-the-clock cover.

The trust had been very supportive of St John, he said, and aware of the fact that people were often more transient in Kaikoura than other areas, which often left gaps in staffing.

This meant there were certain challenges with covering a roster on a weekly basis, and because of Kaikoura's isolation geographically, it was imperative staff were available at all times.

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The two new paid shifts would go a long way to ensuring this cover, he said, and it would also minimise the need for staff to be on call alone.

- Kaikoura Star

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