Review of funding arrangements for emergency road ambulance services

The Ministry and ACC established a review of funding arrangements for emergency road ambulance services as providers advised they could not sustainably absorb increases in demand.

Review of funding

In 2015 St John and Wellington Free Ambulance advised the Ministry and ACC that the funding arrangements did not provide them with financial sustainability and certainty for the future.

In response to the concerns being raised, in 2015 the Director-General of Health and Chief Executive of ACC commissioned an independent review of the funding arrangements for emergency road ambulance services. Emergency air ambulance services were out of scope of the review.

The review was led by Dr Murray Horn, with administrative support from the National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO). The report, An Independent Review of Emergency Road Ambulance Service Funding, was completed in June 2016 before it was considered by Ministers.

Download the report in Word or PDF format:

Further background

Emergency ambulance services are changing from being an emergency response and transport service to becoming highly qualified urgent health care providers, integrated with the wider health system.

As well as changing the kind of work they do, emergency ambulance services face increasing demand, responding to more than 440,000 incidents in 2015/16, with demand increasing by around four per cent per annum in recent years. This demand increase exceeds population growth, largely due to an aging population. While ambulance services can have some influence on the cost of servicing these 111 calls, they cannot offset the full cost of the increased volume and continue to improve service quality.

Another issue is that around 9 percent of emergency ambulance service responses are single crewed, which generally occurs in rural areas. Single crewing means the ambulance is crewed by only one person, and this can affect the quality of care and paramedic safety.

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