St John New Zealand
|Formation||30 April 1885|
|Headquarters||2 Harrison Road, Ellerslie, Auckland|
St John New Zealand (also often referred to as St John Ambulance of New Zealand) is a charitable organisation providing healthcare services to the New Zealand public. The organisation provides ambulance services throughout New Zealand, as well as certain other health services.
A branch of the St John Ambulance was first founded in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 30 April 1885. It was decided to appoint the Governor (William Jervois) as president, and the mayors of Christchurch (Charles Hulbert), Sydenham (William White), and St Albans (Benjamin Bull) as vice-presidents. Further branches quickly spread across the country providing first aid and patient transport and in 1946, due to the efforts of St John in New Zealand during the Second World War, the organisation was elevated to a full Priory, with the Governor-General of New Zealand as the Prior.
During the 1970s and 1980s much restructuring took place in response to changing social and economic conditions, moving away from the traditional militaristic structure and resulting in the current modern organisation.
Today, St John New Zealand is a major health service provider in New Zealand. It provides 90% of the emergency and non-emergency ambulance coverage for the New Zealand population, emergency care and first aid at public events, support phone lines for the elderly and house-bound, hospital patient transport, public first aid training, health products and a youth programme.
In June 2020, St John New Zealand announced that it would be laying off staff due to a NZ$30 million deficit caused by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand. The organisation had failed to secure a wage subsidy from the Government despite a 40% drop in income.
St John services include emergency and non-emergency ambulance treatment and transport, event medical services, first aid training, the sale of first aid kits and supplies, programmes offering non-clinical support for patients and their family and friends, medical alarms, caring callers who phone to check on someone's well-being and health shuttles to help people with impaired mobility attend essential appointments.
St John provides ambulance services for approximately 90% of New Zealand's population. The only area where the organisation does not provide emergency ambulance services is the Greater Wellington region (specifically the areas of the Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley, and Wairarapa DHBs), where Wellington Free Ambulance is the provider.
St John treated or transported 469,850 patients in the year ending 30 June 2017, attending more than 389,350 emergency incidents. The 655 ambulances or operational vehicles, based at 205 stations, covered more than 18 million kilometres in the same time.
The St John Ambulance Service comprises:
- Emergency ambulance services (ambulance and first responders)
- Managing the PRIME (Primary Response in Medical Emergencies) programme. This project is funded by the Ministry of Health and ACC to provide both the coordinated response and appropriate management of emergencies in rural locations, using the skills of specially trained general practitioners and registered nurses
- Transporting patients for arranged hospital admissions and to hospital outpatient clinics (Health Shuttles)
- Transferring patients between hospitals or from hospital to home (Patient Transfer Service)
- Coordinating and staffing air ambulance flights and connections with the four Westpac rescue helicopter services operating in New Zealand
- Clinical education
In addition to ambulance services, St John provide first aid training courses, kits and supplies, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and first aid smart phone applications.
St John offers various levels of first aid training ranging from basic training courses for the general public, to courses which help businesses meet the requirements of the Health and Safety in Employment Act, to advanced resuscitation training for health professionals. St John also offers specialised courses such as child, sports, electrical workers, outdoor and maritime first aid training.
St John is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). The organisation is also a member of the NZ Resuscitation Council (NZRC) and the Association of Emergency Care Training Providers (AECTP).
St John Youth programmes help young New Zealanders to develop first aid, health care, leadership and life skills. Penguins are aged 6 to 8, Cadets are aged 8 to 18. These programmes are fully funded by donations.
St John Youth has 6,337 Youth Members and 1,119 Youth Leaders as of 30 June 2017
St John provides health shuttles, youth programmes, hospital friends, phone friends and pet outreach therapy to help people live independently, get the social connections they need and improve their wellbeing. These services are run primarily by volunteers and are often free of charge.
The St John Health Shuttle is a free community service that transports people to essential medical and health-related appointments, and then brings them home again.
Caring Caller is a service that St John provides for people who live alone or feel a bit lonely. Volunteers phone clients regularly to check that everything is OK. This free service is fully funded by donations.
Friends of the Emergency Department/Hospital Friends
St John runs hospital volunteer programmes called FEDs and Hospital Friends. Our people provide comfort and support to patients, their whanau and friends. Friends of the Emergency Department (FED) and Hospital Friends volunteers provide comfort and support to patients and their families in hospital emergency departments, as well as other departments and smaller hospitals.
ASB St John in Schools
The ASB St John in Schools programme visits schools to give children an understanding of how to recognise, and act appropriately in, a first aid emergency The topic range includes how to call an ambulance and basic first aid. The ASB St John in Schools programme visits schools in many parts of New Zealand to give children an understanding of how to recognise, and act appropriately in, a first aid emergency. The topic range includes how to call an ambulance, basic first aid skills and familiarisation with ambulances and the people and equipment children may interact with in a first aid emergency. ASB St John in Schools caters to a broad age group – from late pre-school age through to intermediate. Topics and teaching strategies are all appropriate to the age of the children.
St John partners with other organisations to provide Healthline (a free 24x7 health advice helpline), Outreach Therapy Pets and PRIME (a programme that uses the skills of specially-trained rural GPs and/or rural nurses to support the St John Ambulance Service during medical emergencies in remote areas).
Event medical services
St John is NZ's number one provider of event medical services. They look after events of all sizes, from high-profile international sports matches to small community fairs. St John is New Zealand's number one provider of medical services at events. They provide medical coverage at some of the largest and most high-profile events in the country but also look after small events, like school gala days and community fairs.
St John medical alarms
The St John Medical alarm service is designed to help people live independently for longer. The alarm is a pendant which is worn around the neck or wrist. If the person has an accident or feels unwell or at risk they can press the emergency button on the alarm. St John immediately calls the person, speaking through a loudspeaker in the alarm's base unit. If the person does not answer, an ambulance is dispatched.
St John is a charitable organisation which relies on its volunteer workforce to deliver health services to the New Zealand population. Volunteers outnumber paid employees by around three to one. In 2017, 9,232 people volunteered for St John and the organisation had 3,033 paid staff. If the St John volunteer contribution was valued at normal commercial rates it would equate to $30 million. St John volunteers receive specialised training and clinical education.
The difference is made up from community and corporate donations, fund-raising, revenue from commercial activities (first aid kits, first aid training, medical alarms and defibrillators), as well as income from emergency ambulance part charges.
These activities also fund the delivery of non-ambulance services such as the St John Youth programmes, Friends of the Emergency Department, Hospital Friends, Caring Caller, St John Safe Kids and Outreach Therapy Pets.
In 2008, St John and ASB Bank initiated a partnership. The partnership helps to expand support for St John services and deliver programmes like CPR training on a wide scale. At the same time, the partnership gives ASB the opportunity to strengthen connections with local communities and give their employees the opportunity to get involved with community services by volunteering for St John.
The partnership was launched with ASB providing the opportunity for 1,000 school children at 10 schools to learn the lifesaving resuscitation skill CPR for free.
The Order of St John
St John in New Zealand has global links to the international Order of St John. Her Majesty the Queen is Sovereign Head of the Order and the Governor-General of New Zealand is the head or Prior of St John in New Zealand.
In 1888, in recognition of its work, Queen Victoria made the Order of St John a Royal Order of Chivalry. In New Zealand, Royal Honours continue to be awarded to members for outstanding contributions and commitment to care for their communities. These Royal Honours are an independent part of the New Zealand Honours System. Honours are conferred annually at St John Investiture services.
- "St John Ambulance Association". Star (6288). 1 May 1885. p. 4. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Hunt, Graeme (2009). First to Care. Auckland: Libro International. pp. 30, 147. ISBN 978-1-877514-03-6.
- "St John wants cash from Govt doubled". The New Zealand Herald. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
- "Covid 19 coronavirus: St John facing staff cuts, aims to save $30 million". New Zealand Herald. 10 June 2020. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- Macfarlane, Andrew (10 June 2020). "Jobs will be lost as St John Ambulance looks to slash $30m due to Covid-19, CEO says in memo". 1 News. Archived from the original on 11 June 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- St John Annual Report. 2017.
- "Local gym staff all heart, says Ken". Waikato Times. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
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