A man who was forced to drive his mother to hospital after an ambulance didn't turn up, says she bore the brunt of a failed trial.
In February Dave Hallie called an ambulance for his 83-year-old mother, Thea, after she had a stroke. But he said the ambulance did not arrive so he had to drive her to Waitakere Hospital.
Hallie wrote a formal complaint to St John Ambulance and received a written apology from the northern regional manager Gary Salmon.
"Your mother's circumstances were coded as a sick person rather than a stroke," Salmon wrote. "This resulted in the case being allocated a lesser priority than it should have been."
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The Herald on Sunday can reveal a shortage of ambulances is also likely to have contributed to the delayed response.
At the time of the Hallies' emergency, St John was six weeks into a trial which replaced ambulances with single-crew vehicles for low-priority calls.
Salmon said the trial had not worked as planned and more ambulances were on the roads.
Dave Hallie said: "It hasn't worked, has it? And my mother was one of the ones who carried the burden of the trial so, nah, not happy about that at all."
His sister, Miriam Carter, said the family commended St John for being honest about the error.
"You want there to be a certain element of confidence and trust and at the moment they are the only service we can turn to. They are under a lot of pressure. We do still have confidence in St John."