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Three new, more spacious ambulances will make moving patients between Christchurch hospitals and care homes easier.
St John has introduced the new ambulances, which will be used for pre-planned patient transfers, to its Christchurch fleet.
St John NZ spokesman Gerard Campbell said traditional ambulances can only carry one patient and a stretcher at a time, but the new vehicles have room for six patients and two stretchers.
However, he said they will serve a large number of people who require transport to and from hospital often, including care or retirement home residents.
Patients will be able to book the ambulances in advance if they know they are going to hospital soon and think an ambulance will be the most comfortable way to get there or back to their home.
Said St John patient transfer delivery manager Chris Haines: "[The ambulances] can take patients between hospitals and from aged care [facilities] and private hospitals.
"They are also available for private hire and are larger than a standard ambulance and equipped with two Stryker electric self-loading stretchers and are ideal for long-distance patient transfers.”