St John has apologised after an ambulance didn't turn up for an elderly woman who was having a stroke, forcing her son to drive her to hospital.

Dave Hallie wrote a formal complaint to the ambulance service about the failure involving his 83-year-old mother on February 14. Hallie said his mother, Thea Hallie, had just been released from North Shore Hospital after a heart attack on February 10.

After she became unwell, he called an ambulance at midday on February 14. He called a second time but, after waiting for more than half an hour, he ended up driving her to Waitakere Hospital where it was discovered she had suffered a stroke.

St John investigated his complaint and its northern region general manager, Gary Salmon, wrote an explanation and apology: "The investigating auditor found that our call-taker performed at a level of only 65 per cent compliant with the computer-aided despatch system, against our required standard of 95 per cent.


"Your mother's circumstances were coded as a sick person rather than a stroke. This resulted in the case being allocated a lesser priority than it should have been."

Salmon said St John would learn from the incident and the two call-takers had been spoken to about complying with processes. Hallie said he was pleased St John was using the incident to improve its service.