$500,000 plan for St John volunteers

St John chief executive Peter Bradley, of Auckland, with the Glenorchy St John's customised $100,000 Toyota Land Cruiser ambulance outside the St John South Island conference at the Millennium Hotel in Queenstown on Saturday. Photo by James Beech.
St John chief executive Peter Bradley, of Auckland, with the Glenorchy St John's customised $100,000 Toyota Land Cruiser ambulance outside the St John South Island conference at the Millennium Hotel in Queenstown on Saturday. Photo by James Beech.
Investing $500,000 to recruit and retain volunteer ambulance crews was one of the plans discussed when St John area committees from around the South Island met in Queenstown over the weekend.

St John chief executive Peter Bradley, of Auckland, said on Saturday the volunteer sustainability strategy, designed to encourage volunteers, was the subject of one of the workshops during the annual conference.

''We need to make sure we're doing all we can to support our volunteers,'' he said.

''We're investing half a million dollars extra into our volunteer programmes to make sure we've got the right training, incentives and recognition systems in place, so I think we'll see some improvements in the next 12-18 months.''

How to continue to improve patient care was also on the conference agenda.

''We look after tens of thousands of patients each year and we want to make sure we're doing the right thing for our patients, so we've been hearing some stories about different cases and different pathways for our patients,'' Mr Bradley said.

''We're looking at some of the priorities for St John over the next three to five years and getting some feedback from our area committees. It's about sharing information, getting feedback and making sure we're all getting together with the same plan.''

In his speech to the 169 attendees, Mr Bradley reinforced the need to work together as one national organisation with ''absolute clarity in our plans and all working to the same priorities''.

He discussed the results of a survey of St John staff, described how services were performing and thanked area committees for their work.

''What people are saying is they're pleased we're being more open in our communication and events such as this are an opportunity to share things,'' Mr Bradley said.

''I think what they are saying to us is keep talking to us and making sure we really do put an effort into showing the great job that our volunteers do and that they feel valued.''

The number of 111 emergency calls for an ambulance in the year ending June 30, 2013 increased by more than 14,000 compared with the corresponding period the previous year. The St John annual appeal runs from April 7-13.