Saturday, 27 February 2016

Solution for Free Ambulances

For many years now a common sight on our roads, complete with sirens, the St Johns (or Wellington Free Ambulance et al) ambulances have been rushing to save lives and deliver to ED it's daily diet of sick, ill, maimed, wounded human cargo.  And for all that time, barring a few, each patient has been charged for that service.

And for all that time I have asked a simple question.  Why are we getting charged? Very young, very old, bent and broken, burnt or drowning - no exceptions!  Supposedly health care is by and large "free" which should read "funded".  If healthcare is funded  from ED to discharge then why isn't "from scene of injury to ED??" Yeah I hear the hoary chestnut, we can't spend any more of a limited budget.  But we can!!  Simple mathematics suggest funding for free ambulances through prudent adjustments in budgets for DHB's.

10 years ago around 700,000 people smoked.  Since the price hikes in cigarettes the numbers have dropped in 2013 census to 468,000.  In the same span, the tax take from cigarettes means an extra $1.4billion a year ending up in Health Budget!!  So let's get savvy, apportion funding to Free Ambulances including Rescue Helicopter.  And if they still have money left over after that exercise, fund full time Surf Life Saving and each monitored beach has a drone. I like the California model, surf lifesavers are officers of the law.

But let's not just stop at cigarettes.  Ask any Ambo the busiest period and the weekend binge drinkers top of the list of unwanted or unnecessary injuries that are booze related.  If Government cries foul with using smoke tax take, then levy with booze could be the norm.  Instead of looking at the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff Government or decision makers, need to park at the top and minimise damage??

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