St John staff increase will not affect North Otago

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St John will be increasing front-line staff around New Zealand, however North Otago will not be receiving the help because they do not require more paid staff, says St John South Island Region communications advisor Ian Henderson.

The organisation announced last week that it would be increasing front-line staff numbers by 158 paid staff in 35 locations across New Zealand to improve service response times, reduce single crewing levels and improve patient and staff safety.

Mr Henderson said the locations of the new staff were based on workload numbers and performance measures.

The North Otago Territory’s current situation meant they did not require additional staff, however they were always looking for more volunteers.

“An assessment of North Otago workload and current paid staff levels show that at this stage, North Otago did not require additional resources.”

Currently the North Otago Territory, which covers Kurow, Aoraki Mt Cook, Oamaru, Palmerston, Ranfurly, Twizel, and Waimate, has 140 staff (133 volunteers and 7.5 paid full time employees) but it would be good to have at least another 36 volunteers, he said.

“We’re very conscious of the challenges of rural volunteering.

“It is a big issue across the country, and also for many other community and charity organisations.

“People are life rich but time poor; there are many demands on people’s lives nowadays, and not everyone has the time available to volunteer regularly for an organisation like St John.”

The paid staff and volunteers in North Otago were a fantastic team and did a great job of caring for patients in their community, Mr Henderson said.

“More people from the community coming forward to volunteer would always be helpful.”

These new operational positions will be funded by St John, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), and the Ministry of Health.

By RUBY HARFIELD