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Busy 2020 for ambos despite Covid lockdown

The St John Ambulance service in Tairawhiti was called out more than 6100 times in 2020.

This was slightly less than in 2019 despite a significant slowdown in calls during the Covid 19 lockdown period.

The 2020 total of 6168 compared to 6211 in 2019.

Nationally, St John responded to nearly half a million medical emergencies last year.

“Covid 19 changed 2020 for everyone, including the emergency ambulance service, and while reduced movement of New Zealanders during lockdown saw a decrease in trauma-related accidents, the ambulance service was just as busy,” a spokeswoman said.

“Due to the extra precautions necessary to keep both ambulance officers and patients safe the duration of call-outs increased.

“Despite the slight decrease in the number of ambulance call-outs in April during lockdown, the total number of 111 calls received during 2020 was similar to 2019.”

Apart from GP referrals (649), the biggest group of Tairawhiti ambulance call-outs involved breathing problems (591), down 30 on 2019.

St John received 535 calls to falls (down 43) and 445 unconscious or passing out incidents (down 35), while chest pains amounted to 396 calls (down 42).

St John crews here responded to 322 vehicle crashes last year, up 30,and there were 237 assaults of various kinds — up 65 on 2019.

Heart problems amounted to 103 (up 24), psychiatric/suicide attempts 73 (down 19), stabbing and gunshot incidents totalled 35 (up 14) and animal bite/attacks amounted to 24 (up nine).

The wide range of other calls included strokes (168), cuts and abrasions (169), pregnancy (44), headaches (49) burns (24), eye problems (16), exposure (2), electrocution (3), industrial accidents (4), backpain (81), overdoses/poisoning (83) and diabetic issues (69).