13 Apr 2010

New ambulance could cut down Niue's medivacs

9:54 pm on 13 April 2010

Niue is hoping a donated ambulance complete with new life-saving defibrillator will reduce medical evacuations to New Zealand.

The New Zealand-based charity St John has donated the second-hand vehicle which will carry the island's first automatic mobile defibrillator to help in cardiac arrest cases

Niue's Health Minister O'Love Jacobsen says an ambulance attending to people on the spot in outlying villages could help reduce the number of medi-vacs to New Zealand.

"The ambulance will minimise us having to organise medivacs in terms of accidents and probably heart disease because we are able to get quickly to the person and give them the attention that they need. It's the fact we are able to make a quick intervention because we have a good facility."

Mrs Jacobsen says Niue has not come under pressure from New Zealand to reduce the number of evacuations.

Up to five patients are medivaced out every year under an agreement between the two countries.

Defibrillator and first aid training will be offered to Niue along with the ambulance.