Emergency calls predicted to rise during poll

Matt Cannon

AN increase in the number of calls for help particularly related to trauma is expected during the general election, according to St John Ambulance.
Therefore, the ambulance is deploying extra ambulance officers from Port Moresby to regional stations to boost the service capacity while a class of 16 trainee ambulance officers who recently graduated will be positioned in the city.
St John is deploying three Ambulance Special Operations Teams (Asot) to support the police in the Highlands region at the request of the Police Commissioner.
St John chief executive officer Matt Cannon said the ambulance special operations team would support the police airborne tactical unit, responding to time-critical medical emergencies.
“The team members are from St John’s ambulance stations in Kundiawa and Port
Moresby, including the Asot team includes an ambulance HEO, two nurses, and three qualified ambulance officers,” he said.
“During the 2017 election, the ambulance service responded to significant incidences of violence.
“Sadly, we already see indications that this may be the case during this election period,” Cannon said.
One of the biggest challenges SJA faces is not having enough ambulances to respond to the growing number of people needing help.
“St John’s ambulance workload has increased from some 3,500 emergency calls in 2017 to over 13,800 emergency calls in 2021,” Cannon said.
“This is a fourfold increase in people needing help from ambulance services in just four years.”