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Busy full-time ambulance officers; this is not for you

October 14, 2013
English: Lake Wakatipu seen from the top of th...

English: Lake Wakatipu seen from the top of the Queenstown gondola. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I was chatting to someone in the ambulance bay yesterday and I realise there may be a few things that are not abundantly obvious that I probably need to make that way.

Number 1;

To all busy full-time ambulance officers:

you are not the people I am thinking of when I suggest Timebanking. That’s not to say you can’t join a Timebank, of course, but this plan is not specifically designed with you in mind. Sorry.

Except that I hope this will make a difference to you in the future in terms of work load. I am thinking of you when I am thinking of creating management plans for those frequent, inappropriate ambulance users which will address the root causes of their repeat calls.

Addressing inappropriate use of service

When St John, GPs and Timebanks can all work together to pull isolated people back into their communities by utilising their skills, those people may have less need to call an ambulance for their social interaction. You know what I’m talking about… you may not want a hand crocheted scarf yourself, but I’m sure you’d think it was great if the person who could make you that scarf started teaching the skill to young kids who wanted to learn to crochet… for example, and stopped calling the ambulance every week because now she has purpose in her life and distraction and social interaction.

Taking the stress off St. John

There are lots of our jobs where Timebanking could help relieve the stress on our resources. It isn’t necessarily short term stuff, but with the growing future issues – you know the list; aging population, increasing expectations, increase in chronic illnesses and so on – we have to start implementing some long-term strategies. Timebanking can help with education and transferring knowledge to communities. We could pay people in time credits to attend first aid courses and healthy living courses and courses specifically for living with particular chronic illnesses. Yes, I know we make money that we need to run operations from delivery of first aid courses, but the cost of them excludes a whole section of society from gaining those skills, and if we have a goal to have a trained first aider in every home (we do) then we have to find ways to deliver that training so that people can afford it. Otherwise we perpetuate the inequalities in health care delivery. (See Peter Bradley’s blog on The Hub “An Envelope For Every Occasion” October 4th 2013)

Supporting volunteers

So when I envisage this project for St John members, it is busy full-time working parents who are also volunteer ambulance officers I am mainly thinking about. So that they can actually gain time with the hours they already put in. I’ll explain how this doubles and can even triple the value of what they do (which is real cool maths that I like, and I don’t say that everyday about maths) in another blog ….


There are already 30 Timebanks in NZ and more popping up all over the place. There’s a new one in Nelson and a new one in Queenstown. So there is plenty of scope for hooking up St John volunteers in various parts of the country with their local Timebanks. It’s not available everywhere and hence not for all volunteers yet but with St John endorsement I reckon funding for Timebanks will be much more forthcoming while understanding of what they are and what they can do will spread like wildfire and within the next couple of years there will be a fairly consistent coverage throughout the country. That’s my prediction.


From → Blog, Volunteers

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