St John crews put to the test

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - WHAT’S ON - JEN­NIFER EDER

The win­ter months are tra­di­tion­ally busy for am­bu­lance crews but this win­ter is prov­ing a real chal­lenge, with freez­ing con­di­tions this month ex­pected to test the ser­vice.

St John crews went to 44,200 call­outs in June, an 8 per cent jump in call­outs na­tion­ally com­pared to the same month last year.

St John Marl­bor­ough ter­ri­tory man­ager Mur­ray Neal says his crews went to 450 call­outs last month, up from 390 last June.

‘‘Please dress warmly, drive to the con­di­tions, make wel­fare checks on el­derly neigh­bours and make sure your reg­u­lar pre­scrip­tions are filled.’’

But the flu sea­son has not quite hit yet, and fig­ures for July and Au­gust are likely to be even higher, Mur­ray says.

‘‘Win­ter is a busy time for us, and call­outs tend to be in pop­u­lated ar­eas such as Blenheim and Pic­ton where peo­ple are in­side and un­well,’’ he says.

‘‘Our key mes­sages are to en­cour­age peo­ple to use their GP and the pri­mary health ser­vices avail­able, to help man­age call­outs and hospi­tal ad­mis­sions. And get a flu shot.’’

St John clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Norma Lane says con­trol cen­tres are mon­i­tor­ing call­out rates across the coun­try, and di­rect­ing ex­tra re­sources to ar­eas with the great­est need.

She urges peo­ple to help re­duce the num­ber of call­outs by tak­ing care of them­selves and oth­ers, and mak­ing sure they are pre­pared for the cold sea­son.

‘‘Please dress warmly, drive to the con­di­tions, make wel­fare checks on el­derly neigh­bours and make sure your reg­u­lar pre­scrip­tions are filled.’’

Mur­ray adds that peo­ple with lim­ited mo­bil­ity should make sure they wear good-fit­ting footwear and socks to re­duce the like­li­hood of slips and falls, in­side and out­side.

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