Brighter livery for ambulances

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 05:00 11/05/2013

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Frontline ambulance staff will be kitted out in new uniforms by the end of the year and arrive at callouts in bright yellow vehicles under a raft of changes from new boss Peter Bradley.

The changes mirror the look of the London Ambulance Service which Mr Bradley left last year, in order to take up the reins as St John chief executive.

Changes to the management structure are also in the pipeline following a review of the service which relies on money from charity as well as Government funding.

St John operations director Michael Brooke would not answer questions regarding the positions held by current Central region managers, but confirmed St John has been reviewing its current national Operations senior management group structure.

"At this point this is just a change proposal and St John are currently reviewing the submissions," he said.

He stressed that any change would not affect the number of frontline ambulance officers. St John posted an operating loss of $14.9 million in the 2011-12 year, despite attending more than 350,000 callouts - a 4.2 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

Ministry of Health, ACC and District Health Board funding contribute just under 80 per cent of ambulance service operating costs, while funding from community donations make up the shortfall.

And while St John's new boss is no stranger to budget cuts, he says any savings will not affect patient outcomes.

"Where I have come from we had to make massive cost savings, so I am used to working in that sort of environment, but one thing I am clear on is that we will not be making savings that affect patients," Mr Bradley said.

This week Mr Bradley confirmed that a new uniform would be rolled out to staff who have lobbied for a more practical uniform for many years.

The introduction of a green shirt, green cargo pants and green fleece will replace the current black and white uniform.

"We have looked around the world at various options and we believe there are significant savings to be made by bulk buying the green uniform which is also more practical for the kind of work our staff are involved in," Mr Bradley said.

Despite the initial cost of the uniform rollout, Mr Bradley believed there would be an ongoing saving of around $200,000 a year.

Along with uniforms, operational vehicles could also receive a makeover with Mr Bradley announcing the trial of a bright yellow ambulance - similar to the London Ambulance model.

The brighter-coloured vehicles have been operating on Wellington streets for years as part of the Wellington Free Ambulance colour scheme.

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- Waikato Times

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