St John misses out for 2nd year

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DESPITE one of the biggest allocations going to the health sector in next year’s budget, St John Ambulance has been left out for the second consecutive year.
St John chief executive officer Matt Cannon said: “We are in disbelief of the exclusion of reference to ambulance services in the national budget, again.
“This decision not to provide a direct funding grant for the ambulance service will inhibit tens of thousands of people from having access to health care in an emergency.
“This will not only disadvantage the four million people in rural and urban communities that St John serves, but will result in significant and preventable loss of human lives.
“If St John Ambulance were to cut services in Papua New Guinea, it is estimated that perhaps as high as 2,000 people will die.
“We again call on assistance to resolve this matter and ensure that basic ambulance services can be provided.”
Cannon said St John was liaising with Treasury to work out whether there was a funding line.
On Friday, he said it did not appear in the budget but assurance was given that St John would be funded.
The Health Department and Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Jelta Wong could not be reached for comment
St John has a 10-year partnership with Health Department to help train, provide and operate more ambulance services around PNG.
It relies on funding from the Government and provincial partners to provide ambulance services and has to raise money to supplement funding to keep services operating.