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Goodhew to discuss shortage

Last updated 05:00 30/08/2014

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Associate Minister of Health and Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew is to meet local mayors to discuss concerns about ambulance volunteers.

Goodhew said she was aware of the issues raised and was meeting the relevant mayors and Parliamentary colleague Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean in the coming weeks.

She said that throughout the Rangitata electorate there were "many wonderful volunteers working under the umbrella of St John", whom she regularly met at St John award celebrations.

Difficulties with recruitment had always been a challenge and it was of concern to hear some communities in her electorate were having difficulties.

Goodhew believed there would always be a mix of paid people and volunteers in St John. "The first ambulance services were purely voluntary . . . and have evolved to a mix of voluntary and paid work. The voluntary component contributes to a strong sense of community ownership and investment."

Although communities had a longstanding history of establishing ambulance services locally and seeking funding from their community and government, Goodhew said the model of mixed volunteer and paid staff was working "and is one that we are not considering changing".

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- The Timaru Herald

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