Two more join St John Temuka

September will bring two new permanent paid staff to St John Temuka.

This is part of a patient-focused move, where 158 additional frontline ambulance staff have been recruited nationally.

South Canterbury territory manager Darryn Grigsby confirmed the two new ambulance officers are due to start on September 1.

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

According to St John the additional staff will improve service response times, reduce single crewing levels and improve patient and staff safety.

St John has 18 volunteers registered at its Temuka station. However, Grigsby said not all of those were regular volunteers.

"The new staff who will be based at Temuka will be a huge benefit to the community, St John and our patients. However, it's important to see them as part of a wider team which includes our volunteers, which we still need more of."

He said St John strongly encouraged people who are interested in giving something back to contact St John in Temuka.

There are no plans to add additional frontline ambulance staff at other stations in South Canterbury.

The new staff are part of a further 158 frontline staff across the country, including 42 in the South Island, within six months, after ACC committed $5.5 million a year to St John. Christchurch will get an extra 20 paramedics as St John tries to address concerns about response times and staff safety. Other staff appointments in the South Island will include four in Rangiora, two each in Mosgiel and Alexandra, and one each in Wanaka and Picton.

The Ministry of Health also committed an additional $1.3m a year and St John would commit another $4m to bringing in more staff.

Associate ACC Minister Craig Foss said ACC had agreed to move from a "fee-for-service" funding model to paying a fixed share.

The Timaru Herald