Ambulance fees increase to $88

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014

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The fee to have an ambulance come to your rescue will increase from April.

South Canterbury residents will pay an extra $4 from April 1, increasing the "part charge" callout fee from $84 to $88.

Fees will increase throughout the country, though by more in some areas due to current fee inconsistencies.

Northland, Taranaki, Manawatu and Whanganui have a current rate of $75, while the rest of the country pays the $84 fee.

All patients will now pay $88, with the option of making a further donation to St John if they wish, St John territorial manager for South Canterbury Darryn Grigsby said.

"This latest part-charge makes the cost consistent around the country.

"What we need people to know is the part-charge is charged when people are treated or transferred because of a medical emergency."

The flat rate charge for those not eligible for New Zealand publicly funded health services will also increase, from $769 to $800.

The fee increase is in response to an increased demand for the service, St John operations director Michael Brooke said.

"In the year ending 30 June 2013 the number of 111 emergency calls for an ambulance increased by over 14,000 compared to the previous year," he said.

"People tell us they are comfortable to pay a part-charge, given the high quality of the service and treatment they receive, and when they understand that the part-charge goes towards funding frontline ambulance staff."

St John staff treat more than 415,000 people in New Zealand each year.

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- The Timaru Herald

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