‘Gen 2’ am­bu­lance for Bal­clutha


‘‘We're ab­so­lutely de­lighted with it...’’

Bal­clutha St John is the proud owner of a new ‘‘gen­er­a­tion 2’’ am­bu­lance, thanks to a do­na­tion from the J.I. Urquhart Fam­ily Trust.

For­mer Kai­tan­gata man James Ian Urquhart, known as Ian, died in Septem­ber 2010 at Christchurch, aged 76. A fam­ily trust formed in his name be­queathed Bal­clutha St John $200,000.

Sta­tion man­ager Ken Bar­ton said the do­na­tion made it pos­si­ble for the town and South Otago to up­grade its fleet with a new sta­teof-the-art am­bu­lance much ear­lier than most re­gional cen­tres in New Zealand.

Launched last year, the ‘‘gen 2’’ am­bu­lance was mostly be­ing in­tro­duced to ur­ban cen­tres, he said. ‘‘We’re ab­so­lutely de­lighted with it, and we’re re­ally for­tu­nate to have it.’’

It fea­tures the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to im­prove staff safety and pa­tient com­fort. Of par­tic­u­lar note was the ‘‘won­der­ful stretcher’’, which was go­ing to help de­crease para­medic back in­juries, he said.

Bal­clutha staff were still get­ting used to the elec­tric/hy­draulic op­er­a­tion, to con­trol the height and to at­tach and de­tach the stretcher from the am­bu­lance.

‘‘It can take pa­tients up to 300kg, and we’re get­ting more of those th­ese days.’’

The new am­bu­lances have space for only one stretcher. ‘‘There used to be the per­cep­tion we had to al­low for two pa­tients. Now safety is more of a pri­or­ity.

‘‘When you get to a scene, you can only deal with one pa­tient at a time, so this is part of how things have evolved over time.’’

An at­ten­dant seat now oc­cu­pies the space of the other stretcher. While the pa­tients were well strapped in dur­ing trips, on more than one oc­ca­sion the of­fi­cer in­side had been in­jured from not be­ing strapped into a seat, sim­ply be­cause there wasn’t any pro­vi­sion for one.

The at­ten­dant can still take care of the pa­tient from their swivel seat with­out en­dan­ger­ing them­selves.

Bar­ton said he was in­trigued to know more about the sta­tion’s bene­fac­tor and his con­nec­tion to the dis­trict.

Fol­low­ing Urquhart’s death, Stuff re­ported that he was a ‘‘pri­vate ha­bit­ual in­vestor’’ and busi­ness men­tor, who had a stake in listed Dunedin-based engi­neer­ing com­pany Scott Tech­nol­ogy.

He lived at Sum­ner near Christchurch and was a pas­sion­ate gar­dener.

Urquhart was de­scribed as a proud South Is­lan­der, who in­vested in south­ern com­pa­nies such as Ernest Adams, Arthur Bar­nett and Ra­dio Otago when they were listed.


Man­ager Ken Bar­ton and vol­un­teer Leigh Topping get­ting the hang of the stretcher in the new am­bu­lance. Sta­tion man­ager Ken Bar­ton

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