The launch of a fleet of new ambulances designed for rural communities has been hailed as a big step towards improving healthcare equity for remote areas.
The new fleet of 14 Volkswagen First Response Units have been handed over to St John, and are being introduced across the country.
The new ambulances aim to improve emergency response times to isolated communities and are being seen as an important step in improving the equity and access of healthcare to all New Zealanders.
St John Assistant Director of Operations, Tony Devanney said the fit-for-purpose vehicles are smaller and nimbler than a traditional ambulance.
"They are ideal for narrow roads, difficult terrain and St John first responders working outside metropolitan areas," he said.
"These new units have ample room for treating and stabilising patients while a transporting ambulance is on the way, ensuring the best possible clinical care for our patients," said Devanney.
The East Cape's Waihau Bay was one of the first areas to receive one of these purpose-built units and Station Manager Spady Te Pou said his team of rural volunteers were welcoming its arrival.
"Apart from the modern spec, the shorter job cycle times mean volunteers can remain in their local communities and have greater flexibility," he said.