National clinical governance standards needed for New Zealand ambulance services

A patient complaining of abdominal pain called an ambulance, was visited by two paramedics, and was assessed as having a tummy bug. He later died at home from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. The paramedics were found to have recorded none of the patients vital signs. Instead, they told the patient about the “current virus going around” and advising him to rest and take panadol.

Now, calls are being made a coroner and by the Green Party to urgently develop national standards for ambulance services. According to Green health spokeswoman, Sue Kedgley, “it is extraordinary that there [are] no national clinical standards governing the provision of ambulance services……Ambulance officers [are]not regulated as a profession …..and there [is] no national clinical governance committee and this must change.”

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