A lack of funding could see ambulance services cut with two major stations in Northland needing immediate additional funding to deliver lifesaving services, a senior member of St John says.
John Bain, a member of St John for 43 years in Northland, said he had some deep concerns about where the ambulance service was heading in the region with increased demand due to population growth, an ageing population, combined with the lack of funding.
Bain said the service was struggling to keep up with response times due to an increase in the number of jobs it was called to.
In Northland between July 2018 and June 2019 there were 27, 311 incidents attended by St John Ambulance with 13,422 patients.
But the percentage of incidents responded to within the urban target of six minutes fell in Northland - the biggest drop in the country.
In 2017-18 the response rate by Northland ambulances teams within the six-minute time frame was 47.1 per cent of the calls.
However in the 2018/19 year that had dropped to 35.1 per cent - a drop of 11.9 per cent.
Bain's comments come after St John chief executive Peter Bradley said St John could not continue providing the services it does now on the basis of charitable funding.
Cuts would include slower responses to non-urgent calls, reducing staff numbers by not replacing those who left, a reduction in training and fewer people answering calls from the public.
Bradley's outspoken demand for funding comes as Cabinet considers a report showing St John Ambulance services are cost-effective and provide better value for money than similar services in other countries.
St John is not a government agency but a contracted service provided to the Ministry of Health. It gets 72 per cent of its funding through the government contract and needs to fundraise to get the rest.
It costs about $330 million a year to run St John - it got extra funding this year with a $25m top-up over two years after it sounded an alarm with the Government, adding to a Budget increase of $17m over four years.
Bain said sausage sizzles and selling second hand clothing in op shops were keeping the service on the road in Northland and that was not on par with international services.
"If you compare it to Australia and United Kingdom we are so the poor cousins. At the same time the government seems to refuse to recognise the need to make sure the public are served in the manner that is internationally accepted."
Two stations in Northland — Whangārei and Kerikeri— have been identified on a national list of 19 stations in immediate need of additional resources.
Additional funding would mean more permanent staff, more up to date equipment and modern ambulances.
"Without the funding services will have to be cut. Funding is critical to St John to ensure people can be employed so we can maintain the standard we have at the moment," Bain said.
"It's a shame in New Zealand to think our ambulance service, that is run by dedicated good Samaritans, can't be funded fully by Government, it's an absolute travesty.
"We need to be recognised as a critical part of the structure of our society and we needed to be funded appropriately to ensure all the people in New Zealand and Northland assured we will he able to provide the service we have for the last 100 years."