Taupo, Turangi and Te Awamutu will be the first towns to benefit from the Government's commitment to have two staff on every road ambulance.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced today that the three towns would be first to benefit from the roll out and had already hired eight emergency medical assistants for Taupo and Turangi and another four for Te Awamutu.

"These recruits will work with existing crew to ensure all emergency road ambulance call-outs will be double -crewed in the coming months," he said.

New Zealand was the only first world country to have some ambulances crewed by only one person but in May Coleman announced a $59.2 million funding boost for the service to hire another 375 ambulance staff and ensure all ambulances were double-crewed by 2021.


In the year to April there were 35,849 single-crewed responses by St John ambulances around the country.

Recruitment was now underway in Tokoroa, Ohakune, Timaru, Westport and Whangarei which were all set to be double-crewed by the end of the year.

"The double crewing of all emergency road ambulances will help ensure patients get the best available care when they need it. It also enhances the safety and well-being of our dedicated ambulance staff," Coleman said.

"The new roles include a mix of ambulance staff to ensure double crewing can occur. This will be particularly beneficial for regional and rural communities."

Recruitment was also underway for more paramedics who could be sent on rescue helicopters.

"St John is in the process of recruiting two intensive care paramedics for the Whangarei helicopter service. More crew will be recruited for helicopter services in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Napier and Christchurch," Coleman said.

Research released last month showed the long-term chance of survival of cardiac arrest patients was 5 per cent higher when they were treated by two St John staff rather than one.