St John sets up new base in Stoke

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 13:00 13/01/2014

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St John Ambulance has set up a base in Stoke, with the aim of improving response times for the most critical patients.

Nelson Nursing Services has decided to share part of its Main Road Stoke premises with St John, so that ambulances can be deployed from a Stoke staging post during day shifts.

Shift manager Kris Gagliardi said that in medical emergencies such as heart attacks, acute strokes and major accident-induced traumas, the patients' survival could depend on paramedics reaching the scene as quickly as possible.

Current workload patterns had identified Stoke as a priority area for ambulance cover in Nelson, he said. The new staging post would help to ensure that Stoke residents received timely pre-hospital medical care. "Our goal is to reach every time-critical call in as little time as possible."

St John is contracted by the Ministry of Health to reach a minimum of 50 per cent of purple and red (time-critical) calls within eight minutes.

An ambulance located at Nelson Nursing Services was a good way for St John to work more closely with nursing and allied health services, Gagliardi said.

St John was constantly looking at ways to work smarter with the wider health sector, he said.

St John Nelson Bays territory manager Matt Wilkinson said the new base would be appreciated in Stoke, as the area had a great number of rest homes.

The Nelson and Richmond population was growing, and St John's services had to adapt to the changing community, he said.

"We need to promptly service that need, and as best and fast as possible."

With increased facilities, St John was able to determine what worked and how best to cater for future needs, Wilkinson said.

"A main focus for us is to see how much we can reduce response times. We owe this to the Stoke community."

It was not so much that response times needed to improve but that St John wanted to uphold an excellent standard of service, he said.

"We will always endeavour to do a better job. We have a mandate where we just try to continually improve."

He said he wanted to particularly thank Nelson Nursing Services and the St John Nelson Area Committee, which helped to bring the venture to fruition.

Nelson Nursing Services director Jill Knight said it had always been a great supporter of St John and vice versa.

Having St John at the Stoke site would provide another piece of the "nursing puzzle", she said.

"We have plenty of room here, and so we see St John as a very worthwhile investment.

"They are very supportive and caring of our people and our service."

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The new initiative cost very little, she said.

- Nelson

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