Mayor worried at lack of volunteers for ambulance

'I am concerned from a mayoral point of view'

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 28/08/2014
claire barlow
CLAIRE BARLOW: 'I am concerned from a mayoral point of view. I would love to facilitate a discussion to improve the service. I haven’t had a discussion with St John recently but it’s on the agenda.'

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The lack of ambulance volunteers in Fairlie could put the Mackenzie District population at risk, mayor Claire Barlow believes.

She was concerned about the situation because of the remoteness of towns in the district.

"The time it takes to get there is valuable time when it's someone with a life-threatening condition."

The Fairlie St John station now has eight team members after three volunteers resigned because of dissatisfaction with their workload.

Barlow was aware the district had been low on volunteer numbers for some years. In the past, mayors of the three South Canterbury districts had met St John heads to highlight issues in the region. Barlow was open to facilitating another discussion with St John to see what the council could do to help.

"I am concerned from a mayoral point of view. I would love to facilitate a discussion to improve the service. I haven't had a discussion with St John recently but it's on the agenda."

Barlow did not know what the solution could be, but thought St John may need to rethink the training time and time on call required from volunteers.

The Fairlie community also shared her concerns and thoughts. When The Timaru Herald asked people on the streets of Fairlie, they agreed there was a lot of time and training involved with little reward, in some cases turning them off volunteering.

The eight remaining volunteers from the Fairlie station met Waitaki St John district operations manager Mike Kelly and South Canterbury territory manager Darryn Grigsby on Tuesday night.

Kelly said it was a positive meeting where several matters, including volunteering, were discussed.

"It was a robust and open discussion and we were pleased with the turnout and that people had a chance to air their views and concerns." He said he and Grigsby would continue to work with the Fairlie team and support them through this period.

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- The Timaru Herald

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