19 Jun 2018

St John expands its services in New Plymouth

6:47 pm on 19 June 2018

A new site for St John Ambulance in New Plymouth will give the service better access to the city's fastest growing area.

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Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

St John has bought land on Ōropuriri Road at the top of the Waiwhakaiho hill on the eastern outskirts of the city.

Predicted population growth and associated traffic patterns are behind a decision to relocate its main New Plymouth station from the Taranaki Base Hospital grounds.

The new site would give better access to New Plymouth's fastest growing area, the satellite town of Bell Block, and the busy stretch of State Highway 3 heading towards Waitara.

It would also help avoid the traffic bottleneck through the Waiwhakaiho Valley on the outskirts of New Plymouth.

The New Plymouth District is expected to grow to 94,000 by 2043.

According to the 2013 Census 74,184 people usually lived in the district, a growth of 7.7 percent since the 2006 Census.

Taranaki District Health Board chief financial officer George Thomas, said he was aware St John was looking at an alternative location.

"We work closely with St John to ensure patient access is timely and safe and are confident in the data that St Johns utilises to make their operational decisions."

St John employs 36 paid, and 100 volunteer, ambulance officers in Taranaki.

There are 12 ambulances based at six stations.

In 2012, St John responded to 10,500 emergency calls in Taranaki, 900 more than in 2008.

It's unclear when the new base will be completed and in the meantime ambulance services will continue to run from the Taranaki Base Hospital grounds in New Plymouth.